‘My bills wouldn’t have piled up’: UAE residents who lost jobs share how unemployment insurance could have helped
The mandatory scheme that offers financial support in the event of job loss is all set to go into effect from January 1, 2023
Dubai-based recruitment specialist Nicki Wilson used to work at a company where she did not receive her salary for five long months, before eventually losing her job. She wishes that the mandatory insurance scheme against job loss — which goes into effect from January 1, 2023 — was available then, so she wouldn’t have had to dip into her savings.
“It (job loss) is very common, but shouldn’t be. I definitely would have appreciated some support to cover my bills during times of uncertainty,” she told Khaleej Times.
Announced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), the mandatory insurance scheme has ultra-low premiums that range from Dh5 to Dh10, with the insured getting 60 per cent of their basic salaries for three months in the event of job loss.
A resident, who did not wish to be named, said he lost his job during the Covid-19 pandemic. “It took me more than six months to find another. I had to nearly exhaust my savings to sustain myself and [my] family during this period.
I will definitely subscribe to the scheme. And knowing that it will cost just Dh5 per month makes me very happy,” said the resident, who works as a clerk.
Job loss can be unnerving
Nicki Wilson, who is the managing director of Genie Recruitment, called the scheme much needed. She said the number of candidates who lose their jobs suddenly due to company closure or an employer’s cash flow issues is “exponential”.
“It is an unnerving time … when you experience job loss. Most people have rents, bills or even loans to cover, but when you consider anyone with a family, they have even more financial responsibilities. It can affect people mentally, too, and we find ourselves consoling many people and even becoming their support system during these times.
“I have seen many senior individuals face job losses and have no savings,” said Wilson.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, several employees who lost their jobs were forced to send their children back to their home countries as they tried to find another.
“At least with having some kind of financial support, drastic actions may not be needed. It allows people to have time to search for alternative employment, or at least have the time to be able to create a plan of action,” Wilson added.
How a longer grace period after visa expiry helps
As reported by Khaleej Times, the grace period to exit the UAE after a residency visa cancellation has been increased to between 60 and 180 days in most cases. The grace period, which was 30 days previously, depends on the category of the visa.
Expatriates need to either exit the country or get a new visa within the grace period after the visa is cancelled.
HR experts said that the job loss insurance and the extended grace period are much needed support for those who lose their jobs suddenly.
Shaan Abdul Rahman, founder and chief operating officer of THC, a Dubai-based HR consultancy, said: “The first thought that residents have [upon] losing their job is what they will do next. It is very difficult to find a new job in under two months. The new grace period of up to six months will give them time to assess their situation and plan their next move.
And getting financial support from the insurance scheme will help them keep their families in the UAE. These two factors will serve as a major source of comfort during a very difficult and often confusing time.”