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What Health Insurance Should Your Company Offer For International Remote Workers (e.g. in Dubai)?

Hybrid work models are reshaping the job market and setting new standards for today’s talents. But, for employers, these changes can be both an opportunity for growth and a challenge. And, this is especially true when it comes down to creating the right benefits packages for your remote teams and fulfilling your legal responsibilities. 

So, what health insurance should you offer your international remote workers located, for example, in Dubai? 

Let’s get to grips with health coverage options for a remote workforce in the guide below. 

Understand Your Responsibilities As An Employer

In most countries, employers are legally responsible for providing health insurance to their employees. However, this often isn’t the case for contractors and freelancers, especially if working remotely. 

Nonetheless, the job market is changing and, following the Great Resignation, a growing percentage of talents prefer to work from home or even from cafes and co-working spaces abroad. 

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So, while you might not be legally required to provide health insurance to your remote workers, you should consider it as necessary to hone your competitive edge and fulfill your duty of care. 

Learn How Health Insurance Works In The Place Where Your Team Resides (i.e.: Dubai)

Health insurance requirements may vary from one country to another. That is why the first step towards offering health coverage to your remote teams is to research the laws and standards where they reside. 

For example, if your team is mostly based in the UAE, you should know that health insurance in Dubai is mandatory for residents, ex-pats, and citizens alike. In particular, in the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, employers are responsible for providing health insurance to their employees and their dependent family members (up to one spouse and three children). 

If you hire a contractor working remotely, you might not need to fulfill this requirement. Nonetheless, the talents working from the UAE might be looking for employers who provide this benefit, especially since they will need to afford their own health insurance if this isn’t provided by their company. 

Assess The Risks Your Remote Teams Face – And The Challenges Of Providing Health Insurance

One of the most important strategies for working with remote teams is to understand their challenges – starting with assessing the physical and mental health risks they face. This analysis can help you determine the type of coverage you need to provide and offer suitable benefit packages. 

Another aspect to consider is the level of risk you’ll face as an employer offering health insurance to remote workers. Some of the key threats to watch out for include the imèpèlications of local laws and compliance, insurance limitations, and employee movements (i.e.: relocating to another country). 

Be sure to partner with an experienced insurance broker and a legal team to better understand the implications of offering insurance to a remote workforce. 

Choose A Specialized Health Insurance Company Or Find A Local Partner

Setting up health insurance policies for employees working in different countries – or even Emirates! – it can be extremely complicated. That is why you’ll want to partner with a specialized health insurance company that can guide you in the process of creating ad hoc health insurance plans. 

Alternatively, if your entire remote team works for a specific location or country, you might consider the benefits of partnering with a local private health insurance agency. 

Consider Offering A Health Stipend 

Setting up a health insurance plan for your employees who work remotely or are based in other countries might come with a range of legal and tax implications. And, not all companies might be equally willing to deal with the consequences of this move. 

Luckily, there are other alternatives worth considering. A great option is to provide your remote workers with a monthly health stipend. This monetary benefit can help them pay for their own private health insurance coverage in the country where they reside.

Or, if they can access free or public health coverage, they could redirect their stipend towards health and fitness activities. Alternatively, you could agree to reimburse their health expenses upon receipt of proof of payment. When opting for this strategy, make sure to have a clear understanding of the healthcare costs in the country where your team members reside. 

Analyze The Competition And Offer Competitive Benefit Packages

According to a Gallup survey, a significant increase in benefits is one of the key aspects employees look for in their next employer. But how can you make sure to maintain a competitive advantage over other employers? 

If in doubt, analyze the market and look into what benefits are offered to talents working within the same industry. Alternatively, an even more efficient strategy is to ask your remote employees or contractors what they expect to see from their benefits package and invest accordingly!

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