UAE: Unemployment insurance scheme now in effect
The Unemployment Insurance Scheme, which had been introduced through the Federal Decree Law No. 13 of 2022, has been in effect from 1 January 2023.
The Unemployment Insurance Scheme has been commissioned for all employees in both the private and federal government sectors working in mainland UAE. As of May 2023, the Unemployment Insurance Scheme has been extended to employees working in a free zone (including the Dubai International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi Global Market). This scheme aims to provide financial support to employees in the event of job loss where the employment contract has been terminated by the employer.
Under the scheme, employees will be offered a cash benefit for a maximum period of three months where they have suffered from job loss as a result of a non-disciplinary reason. The benefit is not available to employees who resign.
To be eligible for the unemployment compensation, which is 60% of the basic salary earned (subject to a maximum of AED10,000 or AED20,000 depending on the subscription amount) during the last 6 months prior to employment termination, the employee must:
- have been insured for at least 12 continuous months prior to employment termination; and
- not have been dismissed for disciplinary reasons under Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations in the Private Sector (as amended) and the Federal Decree Law No. 11 of 2008 on Human Resources in the Federal Government (as amended).
Who must register?
All eligible employees working in the federal and private sectors, in mainland UAE and all free zones.
Who is not required to register?
The scheme is not applicable to:
- investors (owners of the establishments in which they work), domestic workers, contractors / temporary employees, juveniles under the age of 18, and retirees who receive a retirement pension and have obtained subsequent employment.
When should employees register?
Mainland employees in employment on 1 January 2023, must subscribe to the scheme by 30 June 2023. However, please note that employees employed after 1 January 2023 have four months to subscribe to the scheme from the commencement date of their employment contract. It is not yet known whether free zone employees will have a longer period in which to subscribe for the scheme.
Responsibility for subscription
Employees (not employers) are responsible for registering with the insurance scheme and paying the necessary contributions.
Penalties for not registering
A failure to register will result in fines from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) of up to AED 400 for non-registration and AED 200 for every three-month period a premium is not paid. The deductions will take place through WPS, end-of-service gratuity, or any other alternative method announced by the MOHRE. The mechanism for deductions from employees working in the free zones is not yet clear as not all free zones are subject to the WPS or provide an end-of-service gratuity.
Where there are outstanding fines, it will not be possible for employers to apply for or renew an employee’s work permit.
There are two categories based on the salary range:
Category 1: where the basic salary is of AED 16,000 and below, the premium is AED 5 per month (AED 60 per annum) + VAT
Category 2: where the basic salary is above AED 16,000, the premium is AED 10 per month (AED 120 per annum) + VAT
Methods of subscription
There are a number of ways in which employees may subscribe for the scheme. However, the most popular subscription route is through the Insurance Pool’s website. Employees will require their Emirates ID number and mobile number (email is optional).
Payments may also be made via bank ATMs, Kiosk machines, business service centres, money exchange companies, du and Etisalat, SMS or any other to be announced by MOHRE.
How often must the subscription fees be paid?
Fees may be paid either monthly, quarterly, once every six months or annually.