Vacation Plan

The MEBA Vacation Plan provides benefits for your non-working days. The Plan also pays wages for Port Relief employment.

The information on this site provides an overview of your benefits. For more detailed information, please refer to your Summary Plan Description and the Plan’s Rules and Regulations. Nothing in this overview should be construed to replace or override anything that is in the Vacation Plan Rules and Regulations.


To be eligible to participate in the Vacation Plan, you must work in Covered Employment for a Participating Employer. Covered Employment is work for which an Employer is required to make contributions to the Plan. A Participating Employer is any Employer that is required by a collective bargaining agreement to make contributions to the Plan on your behalf. If you work for a Participating Employer, you are eligible to receive vacation benefits after you complete at least 30 days of Covered Employment within a 720-day period for which vacation benefits have not previously been paid.

However, you may receive vacation benefits based on less than 30 days of Covered Employment, provided you have no carryover vacation when you file your application and you take all of the vacation earned on the less than 30 days of Covered Employment.

Vacation benefits are earned according to collective bargaining agreements. The benefits you receive depend on the terms of your collective bargaining agreement, the type of vessel you’re on, your days of Covered Employment, and your rating.

How Vacation Benefits are Earned

If you work more than 30 days, you will receive vacation benefits on a prorated basis for the days in excess of 30. For example, if you are a Second Assistant Engineer and based on your CBA you accrue 26 days of vacation for every 30 days of employment and you work on a vessel for 45 days, you would earn a total of 39 vacation days:

  • 26 vacation days for the first 30 days of Covered Employment, and
  • 13 vacation days for the remaining 15 days of Covered Employment.

If you work less than 30 days, you may receive prorated vacation benefits provided you have no carryover vacation at the time you apply for benefits. You must take all the benefits you earned for the less than 30 days of employment.

There are limits on how many vacation days you can earn and how long you can wait before using them. It’s important to understand these maximum benefits rules. Unless an exception applies, you won’t earn vacation benefits on work in excess of 315 days in a 720-day period, and you will lose vacation benefits earned for work which was more than 720 days before your most recent day of Covered Employment. Please refer to the Vacation Plan Rules and Regulations for more information about these rules.

Your vacation days do not count as days of Covered Employment for earning vacation benefits. However, vacation days are counted for earning Pension Credit under the Pension Trust and for eligibility under the MEBA Medical and Benefits Plan.

Your vacation pay varies depending on the type of vessel and the daily wage rates you were paid while earning vacation benefits in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Contact the Plan Office for more information.

When applying for vacation, you may elect to take all of your vacation (including converted overtime vacation) or you may elect to take only part of your vacation and carry over the balance.

If you take a partial vacation, the balance you carry over may not be more than 90 days of vacation based on regular Covered Employment and an additional 90 days based on Converted Overtime. Your election to take a partial vacation must be made at the time you apply for vacation benefits.

At the end of your partial vacation, you may return to work in Covered Employment or you may extend your partial vacation.

For more information about partial vacations, please refer to the Vacation Plan Rules and Regulations.

Applying for Vacation Pay

To receive your vacation pay, you must complete an Application for Vacation Pay (available for download or from any Plan office location) and attach the following:

  • Voucher of last vacation benefit check;
  • Application for Converted Overtime Worksheet, if applicable;
  • Copies of Original Coast Guard discharge papers covering sea voyage since your last vacation;
  • All pay vouchers issued since the Participant's  last vacation period;
  • Participating Employer pay vouchers covering port time, unearned wages, or travel time to the vessel, if applicable.  Vacation benefits are not payable for travel time from the vessel;
  • Proof that Social Security, Medicare, and State Taxes, if applicable, have been paid.
  • Letter from an authorized Union official granting permission for early return to employment or sailing beyond the 315-day or 720-day limits, if applicable; and
  • Carryover Form, if you took a Partial Vacation.

You must sign and return your Application for Vacation Pay to the address indicated on the form or to any Plan Office location or a convenient Union Office, who will forward it to the Plan Office

Port Relief

A collective bargaining agreement may provide for different day equivalents for the Port Relief vacation factor.

A Port Relief officer may be employed if the regular officer(s) leave(s) a vessel which is in a port in the continental United States, Puerto Rico or Hawaii, during weekends, holidays or at night. Port Relief wages depend on the type of vessel, the employment period and the Employer.

Port Relief Employment and Other Benefits

Port Relief wage rates have a vacation factor built into them, so no vacation benefits are earned from Port Relief employment. However, Port Relief employment counts as covered employment for credit under the MEBA Pension Trust and eligibility under the MEBA Medical and Benefits Plan, as follows:

  • Each hour of Port Relief employment on a dry cargo vessel counts as .167 days (8 hours equals 1.334 days) of covered employment.
  • Each hour of Port Relief employment on a tanker vessel counts as .188 days (8 hours equals 1.5 days) of covered employment.

You usually have to file a signed time sheet at a Plan office location to receive payment of Port Relief wages. After your Port Relief watch is over:

  • complete the W-4 section of the time sheet and list the dates and hours worked;
  • have an authorized Employer representative sign the time sheet certifying the work;
  • file the time sheet at a Plan Office location.


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MEBA Benefit Plans
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(410) 547-9111 or (800) 811-MEBA