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Push for jobless Emiratis to be paid unemployment benefits

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Abu Dhabi: A member of the Federal National Council once more pushed Tuesday for the introduction of unemployment benefits, a move repeatedly raised by the House members.

Adnan Hamad Al Hammadi, an FNC member from Sharjah, demanded again the government pay unemployment benefits for all Emiratis who lost jobs.

Adnan Hamad Al Hammadi
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

“Statistics show that 12,653 Emiratis are unemployed across the UAE, including 4,461 in Abu Dhabi, 3,812 in Dubai and 4,180 in the northern emirates,” Al Hammadi told the House, citing no official source.

Al Hammadi said the government should support its citizens if they lost their jobs or cannot find work, adding out-of-work citizens was a serious issue that had to be addressed.

Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, the UAE’s minister for community development, told the House exceptional unemployment benefits were paid only for those unable to work.

“Exceptional and temporary for six months benefits were paid to 1,277 Emiratis in 2017, 811 in 2018, 772 in 2019 and 385 this year,” Buhumaid said.

Many factors contribute to unemployment. “Many Emiratis decide not to take jobs, for example, because of the perceived status of particular profession,” the minister said.

She cited a case of a woman who decided to resign from a high-earning job, three-fold the social security, she opted to enjoy.

The minister said that reforms should be introduced into the social development laws to change from passive to active social policies with the aim of integrating recipients of social benefits into the regular labour market — welfare-to-work polices including job search assistance, training and skill development and work support subsidies.

Buhumaid told the House last year the government was pushing to get more people with disabilities into the workplace.

She revealed that only seven per cent of disabled UAE citizens have jobs.

Buhumaid said the number of Emiratis with disabilities stood at 19,151.

Of this number, 784 have vision loss, 2,335 are autistic, 5,510 are physically disabled, 6,227 have intellectual disability, 2,063 have hearing impairment and 2,232 have multiple disabilities.

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