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In March 2024, the DIFC has enacted a few amendments in Law No. 2 of 2019 (the “Law”) which include making “top-up” payments into a Qualifying Scheme on behalf of UAE and other GCC national employees and certain prohibitions related to sanctioned employees or employers. These changes, which are effective as of 1 April 2024, are in line with the DIFC’s commitment to operate according to the international best practice.  

Levelling the Playing Field of End of Service Benefits for GCC Nationals

Where an employee is a UAE or GCC national (together "GCC Nationals”), they must be registered with the General Pension and Social Security Authority (the “GPSSA”) and any pension contributions they receive are as per the GPSSA.  However, pensions received under the GPSSA are calculated against a maximum monthly salary of AED 50,000, meaning any employee who is a GCC National who receives more than this monthly salary is unable to benefit from any pension on that excess amount.  This leaves them at a disadvantage as compared to their non-GCC National colleagues.

Part 10, Article 65 of the Law pertaining to Pension for UAE and GCC Nationals has been amended in order to put GCC Nationals on equal footing with non-GCC National employees in relation to the Core Benefits payable to a Qualifying Scheme (i.e. DEWs).  Employers based in the DIFC are now required to supplement the GCC National employee’s pension under the GPSSA with a “top-up” amount to DEWs if the pension contribution is less than what they would have received as monthly end-of-service contributions to DEWS under the Law if they were not GCC Nationals. This “top-up”, however, is subject to a de minimis threshold of AED 1,000.

In accordance with the Law, core benefits in the DIFC are now typically calculated as below on a monthly basis, to provide benefits to DIFC employees:

(i)            5.83% of the employee’s monthly basic wage for first five (5) years of employment, including any employment period before the qualifying scheme commencement date;

(ii)           8.33% of the employee’s monthly basic wage if employed for five (5) years or more.

The DIFC released the below examples to showcase the effect of the de minimis threshold:

Monthly salary

Period of Employment



Monthly Contribution Amount

Top-up Required into DEWs?

A gross monthly salary of AED200,000, and basic salary of AED120,000
Less than 5 years   
15% of the capped amount of AED50,000    
AED 7,500   

No, there is a negative difference of -AED504 between the GPSSA contribution and what would be payable if the employee was a non-GCC national.

A top-up payment is only payable into DEWs if there is a positive difference of AED1000 or more.
DEWS (if non- GCC National)   
5.83% of the basic salary monthly amount of AED120,000   
AED 6,996   
More than 5 years   
15% of the capped amount of AED50,000    
AED 7,500   
Yes,   a AED 2,496 top-up payment is payable into DEWs.
This is the positive difference between what would have been   payable if the employee was a non-GCC national and their GPSSA contribution,   which exceeds the de minimis threshold of AED1000.     
DEWS (if non-GCC National)   
8.33% of the basic salary monthly amount of AED120,000    
AED 9,996   

Treatment of sanctions

Where either a DIFC employer or employee has been sanctioned and is accordingly either unable to administer or acquire (respectively) the Core Benefits under a Qualifying Scheme, it will be as if the commencement date of the Qualifying Scheme has not begun, until either of the below events take place, whichever comes sooner:

(a)          The employer or the employee is no longer sanctioned; or

(b)          The employee’s employment has terminated.

Once either of the above events take place, the employer would be obligated to transfer the benefit payments to either the employee or a Qualifying Scheme (as relevant) pursuant to the timelines stipulated in Article66(17), within twenty one (21) days of the next calendar month to a Qualifying Scheme, or Article 19(1)(b), within fourteen (14) days from the termination of the employment, of the Law.


The DIFC Employment Law No. 2 of 2019

The Amendments to the DIFC Employment Law

Romain Rolland
Romain Rolland
Head Of Office
Logaina M Omer
Logaina M Omer