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More Dubai employees now have health cover

2015-08-03 01:51:40

Employers have continued to respond to government regulations requiring firms to provide employee health insurance under the latest phase of the compulsory scheme.

Companies with between 100 to 999 employees had until July 31 to provide health cover for staff under phase two of programme.

While the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is yet to confirm how many companies met the deadline, should all have complied 600,000 more workers should be covered.

Some companies in the emirate, including MediaCom, already offered employees extensive healthcare cover and viewed it as crucial to attracting staff.

Bre Hill, who is regional human resources manager for the agency which employs about 120 people in the MENA region, said health insurance cover had been in place for some time.

“We’ve offered comprehensive health insurance to all our employees and their families for many years, preceding the new legal requirements,” she said.

In June, the DHA announced that no visas will be issued or renewed for workers whose employers have not paid for their insurance.

The authority is working with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to ensure that companies that did not comply with the directive were not issued work visas.

Companies flouting the regulations could also face fines of between Dh500 and Dh500,000.

The health insurance scheme came into effect in February last year. In phase one, all companies with 1,000 or more employees had until October 31 last year to comply.

Companies with fewer than 100 workers have until the end of June next year to enrol.

In total, 2.3 million workers will benefit.

Compulsory health insurance for workers has been in place in Abu Dhabi since 2005.

Current rules say insurance is only being made compulsory for workers, and not their dependants.

However, Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, director of health funding at the DHA, has urged companies to extend cover to families.