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Here's How Startups And SMEs Can Benefit From The UAE's New Unemployment Pay Program The Unemployment Pay Program recently announced by the UAE government is a progressive and thoughtful initiative that will help provide financial security to employees and entrepreneurs during redundancy.

By Anjali Samuel

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Unemployment compensation has been known to be an important safety net for employees around the world, and the Unemployment Pay Program recently announced by the UAE government is a progressive and thoughtful initiative that will help provide financial security to employees and entrepreneurs during redundancy.

It's been announced that the maximum pay-out under the program will be AED 20,000, although it is unclear at this stage as to how long this pay-out would last. Having said that, this remains a positive step by the government that will help retain existing talent and attract new talent to the UAE.

Startups and SMEs, in particular, can benefit from this program, as it will provide some protection for their employees in the event of redundancy. This can prove to be quite a respite in the current climate, where many businesses are struggling to survive. Overall, the Unemployment Pay Program is a welcome addition to the UAE's labor market, and it should help to make the UAE an even more attractive place to work.

Indeed, the UAE is moving closer to tier-one labor laws and employee protection as the country begins offering unemployment compensation. This is beneficial for employees, but it's also beneficial for businesses, because it enables them to find and recruit top talent. It's a sign that the UAE is committed to protecting its workforce.

This type of security will help to encourage more businesses to set up in the UAE, knowing that their employees will be taken care of, if they are unable to retain them due to unforeseen contingencies. The new regulations coming forth have also enhanced the optics for the UAE employment pool, making it an attractive destination for employees.

Unemployment pay will also help to reduce stress levels for employees, thereby helping make the UAE a more appealing proposition for businesses. In turn, this will boost economic growth and create jobs. It is a win-win situation for all involved. This financial assistance can help business owners keep their doors open and employees on the payroll, while helping address a number of existing challenges for small businesses and startups, such as the following:

> Mitigate the challenges associated with layoffs For SMEs and startups that are often more vulnerable to the impact of economic downturns, it can provide a much-needed safety net to cope with increasing demand or financial difficulties. The government's unemployment pay program also gives businesses an incentive to rehire employees they may have laid off during the recession. As a result, this can help to ease some of the financial pressure on small businesses and startups, and encourage them to take on new staff. The resulting job creation will add to the growth of both employees and entrepreneurs. When employees are able to find new jobs quickly, it also reduces the amount of time that businesses have to operate without employees. This can save businesses a lot of time and money.

> Cover the costs of training and retraining employees Unemployment pay will enable employees to upskill and retrain themselves for better opportunities. Businesses often find it difficult to justify the costs associated with training and retraining employees. This is especially important for small businesses and startups, which may not have the same financial resources as larger businesses. However, this initiative can help businesses offset the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees. This will help SMEs and startups access a better talent pool, and also make it easier for businesses to find and keep the best employees, resulting in an overall performance boost. These potential benefits can be especially important for SMEs and entrepreneurs that are rapidly expanding or focused on introducing new products or services.

> Manage cash flow more effectively The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for businesses across the globe. In the UAE, many small businesses and startups have been made to feel the pinch, as they often lack the resources and funds to weather an extended period of economic uncertainty. The unemployment pay program can help businesses manage their cash flow more effectively, as it provides their employees with a steady source of income during a time when their revenue may be very low or non-existent. Additionally, the program can help businesses keep their employees on the payroll, as they can be rehired more easily now, which is essential for maintaining a skilled workforce during and after the pandemic. By providing financial assistance and helping to preserve jobs, the program can play a key role in ensuring the long-term viability of these businesses. By providing unemployment pay, the government can help businesses of all sizes smooth out their cash flow and better manage their finances.

> Attract and retain top talent better The current unemployment rate in the UAE stands at 4.9%. This is a relatively low number, but it still means that there are a large number of unemployed people in the country. The government's unemployment pay plan can help businesses address challenges related to attracting and retaining talent. In today's competitive job market, it can be difficult for businesses to attract and retain top talent. By providing financial assistance to employees who are looking for new opportunities, they are being empowered to make themselves more resourceful as potential employees. This can play an instrumental role to level the playing field for small businesses, which often struggle to compete with larger businesses when it comes to hiring new employees.

> Financial assistance from the government can also empower employees For example, it can help them start their own businesses, nurturing the startup culture in the long run. It can also help them to relocate to areas where there are more opportunities. Unemployment benefits give people the time and resources they need to make these important decisions in a sound and informed manner, resulting in more stable switches and them being better fits in their new jobs. Indeed, better recruitment can go a long way in contributing to the success of a small business. The government's support will also help attract foreign investment and create new jobs to benefit entrepreneurs and businesses alike. The increased productivity, as well as enhanced morale and safety, will improve the country's economic resilience- and staff will be more secure about their future and hence better equipped to be more productive. Improved productivity translates to amplified growth and profitability for startups. In turn, this will result in a more robust labor ecosystem that can contribute to an improved job market culture.

The UAE is one of the most business-friendly countries in the world, and its commitment to supporting businesses through tough times is evident through this thoughtful and helpful initiative. Transforming the job market to make it more supportive for all types of businesses, employees, and entrepreneurs is a magnanimous task, and this is a much-appreciated step in that direction. It can help us to create a more stable and prosperous economy, and it can benefit everyone who lives and works in the UAE.

Related: Entrepreneurial Leave: Here's Why The UAE Should Consider Providing This Offering To Emiratis Employed In The Public Sector

Anjali Samuel

Managing Partner, Mindfield Resources

Anjali Samuel is the Managing Partner of Mindfield Resources, which offers customer-centric recruitment and HR services in the Middle East and Africa region. Its talent solutions include contingency, executive search, talent mapping, leadership assessment, executive coaching, and c-suite interview coaching for candidates and clients. 

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