UAE: Over 2 million sign up for unemployment insurance

It’s an ultra-low-cost security net that protects workers if they lose their jobs


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Tue 16 May 2023, 5:25 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 May 2023, 5:50 PM

More than 2 million people, including 40,000 Emiratis, have subscribed to the unemployment insurance scheme.

Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, addressed the Federal National Council (FNC) on Tuesday, bringing these facts to light.

Eligible workers in the UAE have to subscribe to the scheme before June 30 to avoid penalties. It’s an ultra-low-cost security net that protects workers if they lose their jobs.

Al Awar told the FNC that employees can negotiate and get additional benefits from their insurance companies.

This is among three main flexible policies aimed at increasing the stability and flexibility in the labour market. Others include:

Worker protection insurance system

Under this system, employers are required to provide insurance coverage to protect workers in the event of company insolvency or inability to pay employee dues. The insurance covers various contingencies, including repatriation expenses, end-of-service benefits, transportation costs in case of death or work-related injuries, and unpaid salaries.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation reported that 96 per cent of registered workers are currently covered by this insurance.

Wage protection system

Another innovative mechanism known as the wage protection system ensures timely and secure payment of employee salaries. This system requires companies and establishments to fulfil wage obligations through authorised financial institutions.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced a 3.34 per cent growth in the number of companies registered in the system during the first quarter of 2023, compared to the previous year. Moreover, 98 per cent of workers registered with the ministry have enrolled in the system during the same period.

Developed by the UAE Central Bank, the wage protection system uses cutting-edge technology to facilitate seamless wage payments and maintain a comprehensive database of wage-related information within the private sector. This development enhances transparency and accountability in salary transactions, ultimately benefiting both employers and employees.

Emiratisation gains

Meanwhile, the minister highlighted that the first quarter of 2023 witnessed an increase of 11 per cent in the number of Emiratis employed in the private sector. This brings the total to over 66,000.

The number of companies that have hired UAE nationals has increased by 13 per cent. Emiratis now work in more than 16,000 companies.

More UAE nationals will get private sector jobs as the semi-annual target to achieve Emiratisation rates nears. At the end of last year, firms with 50 employees or more were required to hire at least 2 per cent Emiratis in skilled roles. This year, by June 30, companies have to increase this by 1 per cent. By the end of the year, they need to have 4 per cent Emiratis in skilled roles.


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