My employer has put in place a medical insurance scheme for all employees, but has said it is for the staff only and we cannot include our families. I have offered to pay the cost, but they are still refusing to add my wife and son. Are they allowed to do this? I used to work in Abu Dhabi and my employer added everyone to the plan. If my employer refuses to insure my family what can I do? Can I show them the law to make them do it? NS, Dubai
There is still a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding the rules pertaining to the mandatory provision of medical insurance in Dubai, even though the final deadline is June 30 this year. By this date everyone who is on a Dubai residency visa must have DHA (Dubai Health Authority) compliant coverage in place. Failure to do so will result in fines and these will be substantial for companies. People will not be able to obtain or renew visas without proof of insurance, and this extends to all categories of employees. The rules in Dubai are different to those in Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi the employer is obliged to insure the employee, one spouse and up to three children under 18 years old. In Dubai the employer is only obligated to insure their employees. They may extend the provision of cover to the employee’s family members, but the employer must pay the premiums and cannot pass this on to the employee. If someone is employed but on a spouse’s visa, the responsibility for the provision of coverage lies with their employer, which will be documented, as a Labour Card must be supplied. This is the case even if they have coverage in place of their own or from a spouse’s employer. If a sponsored spouse or dependent is not in employment, the responsibility for the provision of coverage lies with their sponsor. This also applies for any dependent children or parents, but in all cases the primary responsibility is with an employer, if there is one. If medical coverage is not provided by an employer, individual plans must be arranged. All domestic staff must also be provided with suitable medical insurance by their sponsor.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.