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Allowance payments – who gets what in maritime?

According to Spinnaker’s Maritime HR Association data, shore-based roles still attract a large number of guaranteed allowance payments. The latest set of data shows nearly 30% of all employees surveyed receiving some form of regular, additional payments – covering school fees, housing, car and transportation costs as well as small but regular items such as meal vouchers, gym and fitness plans and internet allowances.

Some of the key findings from the recently published analysis on allowances in maritime are provided below:

Car and Transport

Combined, these payments make up the largest proportion of all additional allowance types. As with most allowances, those occupying the most senior roles are more likely to receive this type of payment (Executive Leadership Teams and Directors in particular) and the value of payments typically increase in line with seniority too.

Over half of Maritime HR Association members paid some form of car allowance or car benefit in 2020, and these payments were most prevalent in Belgium. Transport allowances are most likely paid in Saudi Arabia and the UAE yet appear in decline elsewhere around the globe.

Education and Schooling

2% of staff received schooling benefits, typically for expat employees with children up until 18 years of age. Cash allowances and actual reimbursements were both common, with fixed and variable amounts / caps depending on location and level of seniority. Staff in the UAE were found most likely to receive this benefit.


The proportion of employees receiving housing allowances remains fairly stable, at just over 6% of employees. The value of these allowances will of course be driven by local housing costs, and payments in Singapore remain the most generous. Payments in the UAE and India meanwhile have shown significant increases on 2019 values.

A further 1% of employees were identified as receiving a housing allowance as part of their enhanced expatriate package, predominantly employees working across the Asia Pacific region.

Long term incentive plans

Incumbents in Norway and those working at Executive Leadership Team and Director level roles remain the most likely to receive this benefit. The number of recipients is down slightly on last year, but as ‘long-term’ by both their name and nature, this is unlikely to be the direct impact of the current economic climate on individuals already receiving these awards. However, there will likely be policy discussions around future eligibility and affordability as all reward schemes and working practices are reviewed post COVID-19.

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