In this Dubai company, employees’ mums get monthly allowance

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on June 7, 2021
Supplied photo

If a staff member no longer has a mum, the money will go to his or her father or next of kin.

“When was the last time you sent some money to your mum?” asked Afi Ahmed, the managing director of Smart Travels, a travel agency in Dubai.

Ahmed noticed that many of his employees would often get caught up with the daily grind that they forget to financially and emotionally support their families, especially their parents, back home.

“Life in the UAE can get expensive and overwhelming. We keep procrastinating the act of sending some money home to our mums because we’re either facing financial hurdles here, or we assume they would be okay to wait another month or two for money,” Ahmed told Khaleej Times.

So, he decided to do something about it. He launched a heartwarming plan and opened a savings scheme for every single one of his employees’ mums.

“The ‘Care for your Mum’ initiative will send Rs5,000 (approximately Dh250) directly into the bank accounts of my employees’ mothers,” he announced on Monday.

The amount is a contribution from the company and will not be deducted from Smart Travels staff’s salaries.

“If an employee chooses to add to the amount we are sending, we’ve given them the option to put in a request with the accounts team, and the management would deduct that additional amount from their salaries,” he explained.

“I pay my staff on the 10th of every month. There have been no delays in this since I started the business, thanks to Allah. The company will send the amount to their mothers on the same day.”

When he announced the initiative to his employees in a meeting, many broke down in tears of joy. If an employee does not have a mum, the money will go to his or her father or the next of kin. The agency has a workforce of 22 employees. “We used to be an 86-member team. However, due to the pandemic, I had to close down some of my branches,” he said.

“My staff have no authority over the money I am sending to their parents…This is only for their mothers so they can be financially independent. I have made calls to their mums to ensure that they know about this. We are a family, and I wanted the mothers to know that I’m here for them like their older son. The reaction from them has been pretty overwhelming,” he added.

Shaheen Mirshad, a sales representative with the agency since 2017, felt grateful to work in a company that cares for his family. “My mum stays with my wife and kids, and I usually send her money every month because she’s the one who takes care of all household expenses. When I told her about this initiative, she was very touched and happy.”

Some time ago, Ahmed was approached by a friend whose parents back home in the south Indian state of Kerala were in dire straits as their son was not supporting them financially.

“This guy has a good job in the Gulf, but he wasn’t supporting his parents. It made me wonder if my employees were doing the same to their families. That’s why I decided to launch this scheme,” he added.

Ahmed himself is the breadwinner for his extended family in Kerala. “I lost my father six months ago. But, in 1998, I took a pledge that come what may, I will take care of my parents and all their needs, and because of this, I feel I’ve only had successes in my life,” he said.

“Their (employees) mums will be able to use the money for anything they need. In some cases, it could be for sweets they want to gift their grandkids. Many of my employees have their wife and kids back home, and their aged parents live with them. While a certain amount is being sent to support the entire family, there is nothing exclusively for their mums,” he said.

Ahmed has also been supporting his employees in times of need. “In case they need money for healthcare or a wedding, I do lend a helping hand.”

Raheesa Hakeem, a travel consultant with the agency, said: “I live here with my husband, and my parents are back in Kerala with my siblings. While I would send money to them once in a while, it wasn’t something I did religiously every month. Now, the very thought that my mum will have something while I get my salary is a very heartwarming feeling. I feel it’s scarce that companies take into consideration their families as well.”


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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