DMCC, known as the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, was created in 2002 by the Dubai Government to facilitate global commodities trade and is the largest free zone in the UAE. In 2017, DMCC was named the world’s top free zone for a third time in a row out of sixty other free zones. It has over 13,700 companies that have membership, and the Jumeirah Lake Towers district houses over 92,500 people that work in DMCC. The DMCC supports organizations such as the Dubai Diamond Exchange, the DMCC Tea Centre, and DMCC Trade flow. With regards to employees and general work environment, the DMCC aims to become “the world’s best city to live and work,” as said by Abdellatif Abuqurah, the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Insurance Company.
A new Employee Protection Insurance program, which was started in May this year, will give member company’s employees more protection with regards to salary, end of service benefits, and reparation costs. This Master Service Agreement signed with Dubai Insurance Company will dispense with the “bank guarantee” security deposit of 3,000 AED. The new scheme will reduce the cost of hiring new employees whilst giving companies access to cash flow by giving refunds of the current security deposits when each employee’s residence visa is renewed. This will make conducting business in the DMCC much easier while also helping to fulfil the DMCC’s personal commitment to giving employee’s the best work environment, especially during the pandemic. However, there are some charges based on the basic salary of an employee along with the length of the employee’s visa.
Before the Employee Protection Insurance program, there was a bank guarantee scheme that was implemented by the DMCC. The main aim of this scheme was to attempt to secure an employee’s job and rights in the event of a dispute. The system involved all new employees depositing money, which they could only reclaim if they were no longer employed. The issues within this system were solved by insurance schemes, which were used in the DMCC. The insurance schemes gave employees: end of service benefits, unpaid salary, ticket to the employee’s home country, medical expenses in case of occupational injury, etc. These are all items that are available under the Employee Protection Insurance program as well. This new deal, usually added up to between 10,000 - 50,000 AED per employee depending on his or her salary. This deal is superior to the previous system as employees get more benefits, instead of just receiving 3,000 AED. The strength of this system lies in the emotional incentive these benefits give, rather than just giving employees money. Giving employees opportunities to see their family and taking away the burden of thinking about the future when they may not be able to work, along with the other benefits, will help drive employees to work their hardest. After seeing their families, for example, employees will be more resolved in their work which will help the DMCC.
This initiative will benefit all employees part of DMCC’s member companies, both sponsored and non-sponsored. Sponsored employees are employees that have been given a residence visa through the DMCC. On the other hand, a non-sponsored employee is one that has been issued a Permanent Identity Card based on their existing visa (from a spouse or a parent). According to the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the DMCC, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, “...people are our greatest asset. We feel it is our responsibility to support those who contribute to our success by offering them an enhanced level of protection…” This suggests that the DMCC is doing as much as it can to help not only their member companies, but their employees through this tough economic climate. This initiative, along with others taken by the DMCC during this time, was said to be in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s policies regarding the UAE’s economy.
If the DMCC Disputes Centre receives a complaint regarding a member company not having paid an employee’s salaries twice in a row, that company will be forcibly returned to the “bank guarantee” scheme. The company will also be not able to take insurance for their new employee or any employee that is renewing their visas after the complaint is received. This will only end and go back to the Employee Protection Insurance program once all previous complaints are resolved and there are no new complaints for six months after the resolution of the complaint. This, like the insurance plan, makes employees feel more secure in their work environment, which will increase the employee’s productivity. If a company has not breached the conditions needed to receive the Employee Protection Insurance program, then it will automatically be applied through the DMCC Online Portal.
Overall, it is clear that there are prudent steps being taken in order to protect the livelihood of the many employees that work in DMCC member companies. This is especially important due to the current pandemic as many workers have lost their jobs. The DMCC initiatives, especially the Employee Protection Insurance program, will greatly help the workers in the UAE. It will also help bring the DMCC’s work to an unprecedented level that will greatly help conduct business. This is partially because the Employee Protection Insurance program will make employees that work in the DMCC feel safe when they go to work, not afraid that they may lose their job or get exploited by their employer.