‘Insurance: in life and in death...’
Health insurance for employees
His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, approved the new ‘Health Insurance Law for the Emirate of Dubai 2013’ which sets out the new rules for the provision of health insurance in the Emirate.
The law is expected to be fully implemented by the end of June 2016.The implications of the legislation are that health insurance will be mandatory for all visitors and residents in Dubai (including the various free zones) and will affect over approximately three million people. The current estimate is that approximately one third of Dubai residents have medical insurance and these changes will therefore ensure that all residents and visitors are insured.
Employers will have to provide to all Employees a basic health coverage plan to with an annual premium between Dh500-Dh700. Residents should feel assured that the minimum basic level of coverage includes GP visits, maternity, essential surgery and medical emergencies. The new law however does not extend to Employee’s dependants and, as such, the responsibility will be on each resident to ensure that his/her sponsored dependants (spouse, children, domestic workers etc) are covered and this will be implemented as part of the visa application process.
The law was rolled out in three phases which were directly linked to the size of the business. The transition phases are as follows:
• Employers with 1,000 or more employees were expected to be compliant by October 2014 . (phase one)
• Employers with 100 to 999 employees were expected to be compliant by 31 July 2015 (phase 2)
• Employers with less than 100 employees are expected to be compliant by 30 June 2016 (phase 3).
Therefore, you will note that most of the large to medium sized companies should already have in place the basic medical insurance for all their employees. By 30th June 2016, the smaller companies should also have in place medical insurance for all their employees.
Another important point to note is that as of 1st August 2015, the Dubai Health Authority (“DHA”) has stated that no visa will be issued or renewed if the applicant does not have the mandatory health insurance. This however, will not be applicable to phase 3 companies, which have until June 2016 to comply with the mandatory health insurance regulations. Therefore, by linking the issuance and renewal of employee visas directly to mandatory health insurance, the DHA has highlighted that it is important for expatriates in Dubai to have access to essential health insurance.
Overall, it appears that these developments are in line with the dynamic environment we live in and these changes are being welcomed by not only the private insurance sector, but also the residents of Dubai generally.
For further information on employers’ responsibilities towards their employees please contact email@example.com
Life insurance treatment on death
If an employer provides life insurance cover to its employees as part of the reimbursement package, HR departments should ensure that employee records are complete and up to date, particularly the nomination forms for any such life insurance policies. The UAE Civil Code makes it clear that life insurance proceeds can be paid out directly to the nominated beneficiary upon death of policy holder, and indeed this is often a much needed resource for the surviving family at a time when other assets are frozen and potentially subject to inheritance procedures.
The legal status of life insurance proceeds must be contrasted to the status of the deceased employee’s final dues, including outstanding salary, holiday pay, and end of service gratuity. Although HR departments may feel under a lot of pressure to calculate the final dues and pay out to the surviving family at the earliest, this should be done with care and consideration. The legal position is that the gratuity forms part of the estate of the deceased, along with the final salary and any outstanding holiday pay. This should therefore be paid out to the heirs identified in a relevant court order. It is not advisable for an employer to pay out these dues immediately to the surviving spouse because the company may be subject to later claims by other entitled legal heirs. Its worth bearing in mind that family members other than the surviving spouse can have vested inheritance rights whether there is a Will or not.
For further information on inheritance matters in the UAE please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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