DUBAI: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) held several virtual town hall meetings with senior executives from various Government entities to discuss the detailed implementation plan of the savings scheme, which will be in effect from 1st July this year.

The DIFC is responsible for supervising the implementation of the 'Savings Scheme for Employees in Government of Dubai' for expatriates.

These meetings are part of a series of direct awareness sessions for institutions and employees to get acquainted with all the details related to the scheme.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, approved the launch of the scheme in March 2022 with the aim of attracting and retaining talent by providing an integrated system that offers various savings opportunities for employees to secure their present and future.

The scheme conceptualised after the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) plan, targets expatriates in Dubai government entities in the first stage, with the scope of expanding its implementation in later stages.

The virtual meetings were attended by executives, human resources managers and employees from government entities that will start implementing the new scheme.

The attendees learned about the advantages of the scheme, enrolment details and types of financial contributions, in addition to procedures followed at all levels, which include the employee, employer and the supervisory board of the scheme.

Alya Hussain Al Zarouni, Executive Vice President – Operations, DIFC Authority, said, "Expanding the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) plan across the Dubai government entities supports the emirate’s vision to be a leading hub for talent. This comprehensive savings plan is utilised for retirement planning and aligns with global best practices. The approach is a first for the region and over time, we expect other cities and countries to adopt a similar approach in the coming years. Together with industry leaders such as Equiom, Zurich and Mercer, we will continue to provide a best-in-class offering, reforming the workplace savings landscape."

Mohammad Al Hawi, Director of Policies and Strategies-Economic Development at the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, highlighted that the savings scheme is considered an important addition to the Government of Dubai and will play a key role in enhancing the economic and social stability that the government offers its employees.

"The scheme will contribute to strengthening Dubai’s position as a global financial centre, which is recognised as an incubator for expertise and competencies from around the world, in accordance with international best practices. This is in the interest of the workforce and its development within an integrated system that enhances the attractiveness and flexibility of the labour market in the Emirate," he added.

Iman Saleh Bin Khatam, Director of Policy and Programme Support of Dubai Government Human Resources Department, commented, "The savings scheme will enable employers to manage and fund the end-of-service benefits efficiently while offering foreign employees a way to save and invest with confidence. With DEWS, we empower employees to take control of their financial future."

Global professional services provider, Equiom will act as the master trustee of the scheme and the independent legal owner of contributions made by employers, while ensuring that its beneficial interest lies with employees. Zurich Workplace Solutions will support employers and employees through the administration and management of the plan. Investment services provider, Mercer will provide independent, tried and tested investment advice to the master trustee of the scheme.

Since DEWS launce in February 2020, its market-leading approach to long-term workplace savings in the region has helped with providing a progressive end-of-service benefits scheme, having restructured the predefined employee benefits plan into a professionally funded and managed plan. The plan also offers employees the possibility to save more through voluntary savings. In addition, DEWS allows participants to choose a plan that is commensurate with the type of risk they are willing to take, empowering employees to plan for their financial future, especially retirement.

WAM/Khoder Nashar/Hatem Mohamed