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Ask Ali: Health insurance and the UAE's museums

The National's culture columnist offers advice and suggestions for living and working in the UAE. This week, employer health coverage and the significance of the UAE's upcoming museum openings.

Dear Ali: I am on my husband's sponsorship and have medical insurance paid by his company. However, I am thinking of looking for a job but wish to clarify who would be responsible for my insurance. Does my sponsor continue to be responsible, would any employer be responsible, or am I doubly covered? In the event of an accident at work, from whom would I receive coverage? EL, Abu Dhabi

Dear EL: Following changes in the labour law as per the Cabinet Resolution No. (25) of 2010, dependents under sponsorship or an expat resident can take up a job. Your employer is supposed to apply for your labour card and give you a new visa.

Health insurance for employees is, as of now, closely monitored and mandatory in the whole country, to be supplied by the employer. It is illegal to continue on your husband's visa and health insurance if you have your own job.

God forbid, but if you were to have a work-related accident or injury, then according to the law, any costs related to occupational injuries would be the responsibility of the employer and are dealt with in a completely different way than any other medical issues.


Dear Ali: What is the role of museums here and how can they share the UAE's culture with the world? DA, Abu Dhabi

Dear DA: Modern-day museums are very diverse in their collection and dedication, from arts to heritage and science to curiosities. Abu Dhabi has very ambitious plans, and in the near future Saadiyat Island is to be the home of a number of museums of international significance. Beside the Guggenheim, with its focus on contemporary arts, and the Louvre, with its focus on classical arts, the Zayed National Museum will highlight the life of the father of the nation, Sheikh Zayed, and showcase the history of the UAE and its people. Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), in cooperation with experts from the British Museum in London, are currently working on the content of the exhibition and have already gained a wealth of information and artefacts, dating back as far as 2,000 years.

Until the new museums open their gates, I'd like to recommend a visit to the already existing museums and exhibitions in the capital: The Heritage Village on Abu Dhabi's breakwater hosts a beautiful display of the traditional life and work in the region. The Sheikh Zayed Center for Study and Research in Bateen hosts, besides other sections, a beautiful collection of personal items and memories of Sheikh Zayed.

Elsewhere, there's the Dubai Museum, located in the Al Fahidi Fort, which houses artefacts and historical photos from the region. Both Al Ain and Sharjah have very good museums showcasing our history and culture. There are also many smaller galleries in our cities that display work from local artists.

Museums should be places where history and art come alive in the dialogue with visitors. Ideally this dialogue shall be facilitated by experienced museum professionals and hopefully in the future we will see more and more Emirati facilitators of this cultural dialogue as guides and museum hosts.

Ali Al Saloom is a cultural adviser and public speaker from the UAE. Follow @AskAli on Twitter, and visit www.ask-ali.com to ask him a question and to find his guidebooks to the UAE, priced at Dh50.

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