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Is it mandatory for employers to provide health insurance in the UAE?

11/8/2022

In the UAE, some Emirates have made it compulsory for employers to cover health insurance for their expatriate employees. However, there are specific rules and regulations regarding the medical insurance coverage for the employee’s family.

Can my company provide health insurance for my spouse and children?

Dubai: If you recently suffered from an injury or your child visited a paediatrician, you may wonder if your company will foot the medical bill.

In the UAE, some Emirates have made it compulsory for employers to cover health insurance for their expatriate employees. However, there are specific rules and regulations regarding the medical insurance coverage for the employee’s family.

So, if you want to know the extent of the employer’s medical health insurance and who pays for the cost, here is a detailed breakdown.

Do companies in the UAE provide health insurance?

According to legal experts who spoke with Gulf News, the answer depends on the Emirate in which your company operates. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it is mandatory for all companies to provide health insurance for their employees. However, northern Emirates such as Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah do not have local legislation in place obligating employer’s to cover health insurance for employees.

Mohammed El Dakamawy, a lawyer with Dubai-based law firm Dr. Mahmood Hussain Advocates and Legal Consultancy LLC, said: “The UAE does not have federal legislation obliging employers to medically insure their employees. Rather, such affairs are regulated by each of the Emirate’s relevant authority as and when they deem fit.”

Here is a breakdown of the rules in each Emirate.

Abu Dhabi

The law governing health insurance in Abu Dhabi is ‘Law No. (23) of 2005 Concerning Health Insurance in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Implementing Regulation’.

Abu Dhabi’s health insurance law’s scope of applicability includes employers, who can be natural persons or juridical persons [companies] who hire employees or workers, within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. According to the law, an employer is mandated to procure medical insurance for his employees and their families, which is limited to a spouse and three children,” El Dakamawy said.

As per Article 5 of Abu Dhabi’s health insurance law: “The Employer shall undertake to subscribe in the Health Insurance Scheme for all the employees hired thereby and their families, who may only include the wife of the employee or the worker and three of their children who have not reached 18 years of age.

So, in Abu Dhabi, your employer is required to provide health insurance cover to you, as well as your family, including your spouse and up to three children.

What if my employer does not provide medical insurance?

In the Emirates that have mandated that health insurance be provided by the employer, you are entitled to take legal action if your employer fails to do so.

If an employer refuses to subscribe its employee to a health insurance plan and/or does not provide proof that the employee is subscribed to a health insurance plan, the employee can seek remedy from the relevant labour office,” El Dakamawy said.

“If an employer does not abide by the relevant health insurance laws, they will be liable to pay hefty fines and penalties in addition to compensating the employee for any cost, loss, damage or expense borne as a result of the employer’s failure to abide by the relevant law,” he explained further

Dubai

In 2013, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) passed a legislation making health insurance coverage compulsory for every resident in Dubai.

Natasha Sood, senior associate at Dubai-based law firm Motei and Associates, said: “In Dubai, employers are legally obligated to provide medical cover for their employees. The Health Insurance Law of Dubai No. 11 of 2013 requires that all residents must have a level of health insurance that meets or exceeds minimum benefits stipulated by DHA. The responsibility of providing health insurance rests with the employer.

However, when it comes to health insurance for your family, it may or may not be covered by your company, as per their policy.

In Dubai, sponsors are required to provide private health insurance for their dependents,” Sood said.

So, if your family is under a residence visa sponsored by you, you are legally required to apply for a health insurance for them.

Northern Emirates

According to experts, Emirates such as Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah do not have any legislation regarding medical insurance for employees and as of now, it is not compulsory to provide medical insurance. Providing medical insurance for employees is based on the the company’s policy.

Is my salary deducted for health insurance coverage?

According to Sood, the employer must pay the cost for medical insurance and should not fund the cost of insurance from the employee’s salary.

The responsibility of providing health insurance rests with the employer, not the employee. The law also states that employers must not deduct the salary of the employee to provide health insurance,” she said.

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