A first-of-its-kind Golden Pension Plan (GPP) announced recently for expatriates in the UAE will help boost their end-of-service funds. Expats — who make up 89 per cent of the UAE's population — depend mainly on their gratuity as retirement plan. Being part of a pension scheme will help them save more and even earn profits on their monthly contributions that begin at Dh100.
Companies have to first sign up for the GPP that is offered by National Bonds. When asked if contributions will be mandatory for employees of registered corporates, Mohammed Qasim Al Ali, group chief executive officer, National Bonds, explained to Khaleej Times: "The Golden Pension Plan is not mandatory for employees, but a voluntary savings measure.”
This means that employees can choose to not become part of the scheme. The company cannot dictate to employees the amount that needs to be saved each month either. “There is complete flexibility when it comes to the contributions employees want to make. However, the minimum amount required to be part of the Scheme is Dh100,” said Al Ali.
“(Even though it’s not mandatory), we do encourage all of them to supplement their invested gratuity by their employers as it’s a great way to prepare for the future. Not only will they save but they will also have an opportunity to receive competitive profit on every dirham saved and qualify for the Dh35 million rewards programme offered by National Bonds.”
He was referring to the programme that offers a grand prize of Dh1 million for two winners each every three months. It also offers over Dh423,000 worth prizes each year, with dedicated prizes for ladies, minors and regular savers.
Under the GPP program, registered employees will be eligible for all the prizes of the rewards programme.
The total amount and the profit earned on it can be redeemed when employees claim their end-of-service benefits with the company.
“With the employer's prior consent, an employee can avail partial redemption of the accumulated funds while still being employed,” said Al Ali.
Moreover, employees can continue contributing to their account after they resign or retire.
With GPP, companies can invest the accrued gratuity funds as a lump sum amount in their company’s central account with National Bonds. They also have the flexibility to open individual accounts for their employees and allocate the accrued gratuity to each of them.
“Sukuk (savings bonds) will be issued for both instances. For the funds invested by the corporate as well as under the employee’s accounts with National Bonds as per the allocation per staff provided by the company. Sukuk issued under the invested gratuity (by employers) will be locked for redemption and can only be initiated based on the company’s prior approval,” Al Ali added.
Employees can track their accumulated gratuity, savings, profits and wins through National Bonds mobile application in real-time.
The pension fund is invested in various low- to medium-risk sharia-compliant asset classes that are decided with the corporate during the process of signing up.
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