In brief

The UAE Government has recently announced legislation requiring employees in the Federal Government and private sector to register in an unemployment insurance scheme. The scheme is designed to provide financial support to employees in the event that the employee loses their job.

What do employees need to do?

Employees must register with an unemployment insurance scheme starting from 1 January 2023.

Unemployment insurance schemes are provided by a number of selected insurance providers in the UAE. There are a number of different ways an employee may use to enroll with an insurance scheme including via:

  • Insurance booth website
  • Employee’s bank
  • ATM machines throughout the UAE
  • Exchange centers
  • Banking centers
  • Du / Etisalat
  • Directly with an insurance company

Once registered, employees must start paying monetary contributions to the scheme as follows:

  • Employees earning less than AED 16,000 must contribute a minimum of AED 5 per month to their selected scheme.
  • Employees earning more than AED 16,000 must contribute a minimum of AED 10 per month to their selected scheme.

Failure to register in an unemployment insurance scheme will result in a penalty of AED 400 being imposed on the employee. When employees fail to register in an insurance scheme and do not pay any contributions for more than three months, they will be fined an additional AED 200.

Benefits under the Scheme

Conditional upon the employee having paid contributions into the scheme for at least 12 months and meeting the eligibility requirements, on termination of employment, employees will be entitled to receive financial assistance from the scheme for a period of up to three months from the date of termination – equal to 60% of their monthly salary. Compensation is capped at AED 10,000 in respect of employees earning less than AED 16,000 per month and AED 20,000 for employees earning more than AED 16,000 per month. Scheme benefits will cease from the earlier of the date the employee secures alternative employment in the UAE or three months from the last day of employment. 

Please note that employees who resign or who are dismissed for disciplinary reasons will not be entitled to benefits from the scheme.

Are employers required to register employees in a scheme?

No. Employers are not required to register their employees in an insurance scheme, nor are employers required to pay any contributions to a scheme. The unemployment insurance scheme is an employee requirement only. However, employers are advised to remind their employees of their obligation to register.


To speak to us in relation to the new Unemployment Insurance scheme, any employment law related matters, or issues more generally, please reach out to the Baker McKenzie contacts below.

Author

Joanna Matthews-Taylor is a partner in the Dubai office of Baker McKenzie and head of the employment practice. Joanna advises clients based in the UAE and wider Middle East region, on the full spectrum of employment law issues, including recruitment, employment contracts, benefits and termination. She has also advised clients on the employment aspects of corporate transactions, cross-border secondments and the mobility of employees in the Middle East. Joanna has worked with international clients in a variety of sectors including technology, life sciences, hospitality and insurance.

Author

Aqsa Khan-Sadiq is a Senior Associate in the Dubai office of Baker McKenzie. She was admitted as a Solicitor of England and Wales in 2013 and has been practising in the UAE for over 6 years. Aqsa advises clients on a full range of contentious and non-contentious and employment law issues, including various contract drafting; providing strategic advice on disciplinary matters, termination and non-competition; bringing company procedures, contracts and company policies in line with the UAE Labour Law and the DIFC Employment Law; and assisting with the transfer of employees and due diligence during M&A transactions.

Author

Sami Nasr is a paralegal in the Employment practice group at Baker McKenzie in Dubai. Sami's practice focuses on the employment perspective of both contentious and transactional matters in Dubai and across the Middle East. He also supports investigations into corporate corruption, embezzlement and other compliance-related issues.

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