Employer must bear healthcare costs for staff without valid insurance in Dubai

Know your legal rights in the UAE

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Close up of a medical insurance form.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Close up of a medical insurance form.

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Q: I have been working in Dubai since July 2017. Last June, I suffered cardiac arrest and underwent angioplasty. Before my operation, I found out that my employer did not renew our health insurance and just presented a dummy when my visa was renewed in December 2019. Now, I have a follow-up check-up and test, plus medication for three months. Who should bear these expenses? Is there any action that must be taken against my employer for refusing to renew our health insurance?

Answer

We assume that you are employed by a company based in mainland Dubai, therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (Employment Law) and the subsequent ministerial orders are applicable. It is the responsibility of an employer to provide health insurance to its employees in Dubai. This is in accordance with Article 10 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law.

It states: "The employer shall be obliged to do the following:

1. Provide health insurance coverage for employees, in accordance with the health insurance policy applicable.

2. Bear the costs for such health insurance coverage rather than making the beneficiaries bear such costs.

3. Verify that the health insurance of the employees is valid for the length of their work period.

4. Bear the health services and medical intervention costs in emergencies for any of the employees, if any of them has no health insurance in accordance with the provisions of this law.

5. Give employees their health insurance cards.

6. Provide the health insurance policy upon the employees' residence issuance or renewal.

7. Any other obligations specified by the authority pursuant to the resolutions issued."

Further, Article 96 of the Employment Law states: "The employer must provide employees with means of medical care."

Therefore, based on these provisions, your employer has to provide you with health insurance during the period of your employment. Article 23 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law states that if an employer fails to provide health insurance, the authority concerned or the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) may impose penalties ranging from Dh500 to Dh150,000. If the employer violates this law repeatedly, penalties may reach Dh500,000.

You may request your employer to bear the medical expenses you incurred when you underwent angioplasty, including check-ups and medications. Further, you may request them to provide you with a valid health insurance so that you may avail of further medical treatments.

If your employer refuses to issue a valid health insurance and if they fail to reimburse the medical expenses, you may approach the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the DHA to file a complaint against your employer.

Know the law

If an employer fails to provide health insurance, the authority concerned or the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) may impose penalties ranging from Dh500 to Dh150,000.

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