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Unemployment benefits in UAE

The UAE’s new unemployment insurance scheme for Emirati and foreign employees in the public and private sectors comes into effect on January 1, 2023.

The social security programme, called the Involuntary Loss of Employment insurance scheme, will pay Emiratis and residents a cash sum for three months if they lose their jobs.

Employees working in the UAE’s free zones are currently exempt from subscribing to the scheme.

First announced in May, the scheme aims to provide a decent life for workers in the UAE until they find another job, according to the programme’s website.

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Photo by Anna Shvets on

The insurance pool, which is represented by Dubai Insurance, is responsible for providing the service.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has signed an agreement with nine local insurance companies to operate and fund the scheme.

The deadline for registration for the unemployment insurance programme is June 30, 2023, according to the ministry.

“Unemployment insurance schemes are provided by a number of selected insurance providers in the UAE,” said Joanna Matthews-Taylor, employment partner at law firm Baker McKenzie.

“Employees can subscribe to the insurance programme in a number of ways, including through the insurance pool’s website and its smart application, the employee’s bank, ATMs, money exchange companies, business service centres, kiosk machines, du and Etisalat or directly with an insurance company.”

Compensation will be paid for a maximum of three months from the date of an employee’s job loss and will be calculated at 60 per cent of their basic salary over the most recent six months before the loss of employment for a maximum payment of Dh20,000 ($5,445) a month.

For example, if you earn a basic salary of Dh10,000 per month and you lose your job, you would receive 60 per cent of that for three months, or Dh6,000.

The insurance programme is divided into two categories.

The first covers employees who earn a basic salary of Dh16,000 or less every month. The second is for workers who earn a monthly basic salary of Dh16,000 or more.

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The insurance cost for employees earning a basic salary of Dh16,000 or less has been set at Dh5 a month, or Dh60 annually.

Workers who earn a monthly basic salary of Dh16,000 or more will pay Dh10 a month, or Dh120 a year.

Employees will pay for the unemployment insurance themselves. This can be paid either monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or on an annual basis. The value of the insurance policy is also subject to VAT.

If an employee has not registered by June 30, 2023, they will be fined Dh400, according to Samir Kantaria, partner and head of employment and incentives at law firm Al Tamimi & Company.

“If the employee has registered but failed to pay their contributions for three consecutive months, they will lose the benefits under the scheme. They will be required to re-subscribe to the scheme, pay any unpaid contributions and pay a fine of Dh200,” he said.

Employers are not required to register their employees in an insurance scheme, nor are they required to pay any contributions to the scheme, according to Baker McKenzie.

Employees are responsible for registering for the unemployment insurance scheme. However, employers are advised to remind their staff of their obligation to do so, said Aqsa Khan-Sadiq, senior lawyer with Baker McKenzie.

“It is almost like a savings account for employees, where they save a specific amount each month for a rainy day,” she added.

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