The Gulf states: How hard can the easiest payroll in the world be? The Gulf states: How hard can the easiest payroll in the world be?

The Gulf states: How hard can the easiest payroll in the world be?
31 Jul 2014

You are tying up the loose ends of your last payroll run and your manager stops by. He/she casually asks: “Can you take over the Dubai payroll? Will is leaving the company and I think this would be a fantastic learning opportunity for you”.

You recall that Will never complained about collective agreements, taxes, deductions or other complexities which you face every month with your European payrolls. How hard can that be? Then you hear yourself say “sure”.

You start learning about the country’s payroll, that there are multinational individuals, that the company is set-up in a free zone and that the contact at the payroll provider is Yaser. Near the change submission date Yaser sends a quick email asking what you want to do with the two recently hired Saudi Arabian nationals?

You wonder if it matters that they are from Saudi Arabia. After all, on your Dubai payroll, it seems most people are from somewhere else. So you fire an email back saying: “Yes – please pay them”. Yaser replies: “What about the GOSI contributions for the two Saudi Arabians?”

You ask yourself: “What is GOSI? And why is it mucking up my supposedly simple UAE payroll? Isn’t it basically a gross payroll with two accruals, one for end of service and one for vacation? Ok – add in the slight complexity of the Wage Protection System (WPS), which my provider helps me with anyway for distribution reporting”.

So you go to the ‘well of all knowledge’, Google and type in GOSI. Ignoring the first entry in Arabic, you jump to the second item to find out that GOSI stands for General Organisation for Social Insurance.

Interestingly enough GOSI, or the concept of GOSI, is prevalent across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, which comprise Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Basically GOSI is social insurance with employee contributions and employer matches. You’ve got it. GOSI is mandatory in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

So you think – I am processing payroll in UAE why does GOSI matter? Here in lies the interesting part. If an employee from a country where GOSI is mandatory (Saudi Arabia) is working in another GCC country (UAE), then the work country (UAE) should register the employee for. GOSI, withhold the appropriate amount from the employee and pay the company match based on his nationality (Saudi Arabian). These funds are remitted to the Saudi Arabian authorities in UAE to be registered to the employees’ accounts.

It is apparent that the GCC is cooperating more and more on regional work force and funding issues. In addition to WPS and GOSI, there have been discussions on unifying currency and banking systems.

So although GCC is still considered one of the easiest payrolls to process in the world, interregional requirements are increasing the complexity of the calculations and compliance each year.

Michele Honomichl, Celergo’s executive chairman.

You are tying up the loose ends of your last payroll run and your manager stops by. He/she casually asks: “Can you take over the Dubai payroll? Will is leaving the company and I think this would be a fantastic learning opportunity for you”.

You recall that Will never complained about collective agreements, taxes, deductions or other complexities which you face every month with your European payrolls. How hard can that be? Then you hear yourself say “sure”.

You start learning about the country’s payroll, that there are multinational individuals, that the company is set-up in a free zone and that the contact at the payroll provider is Yaser. Near the change submission date Yaser sends a quick email asking what you want to do with the two recently hired Saudi Arabian nationals?

You wonder if it matters that they are from Saudi Arabia. After all, on your Dubai payroll, it seems most people are from somewhere else. So you fire an email back saying: “Yes – please pay them”. Yaser replies: “What about the GOSI contributions for the two Saudi Arabians?”

You ask yourself: “What is GOSI? And why is it mucking up my supposedly simple UAE payroll? Isn’t it basically a gross payroll with two accruals, one for end of service and one for vacation? Ok – add in the slight complexity of the Wage Protection System (WPS), which my provider helps me with anyway for distribution reporting”.

So you go to the ‘well of all knowledge’, Google and type in GOSI. Ignoring the first entry in Arabic, you jump to the second item to find out that GOSI stands for General Organisation for Social Insurance.

Interestingly enough GOSI, or the concept of GOSI, is prevalent across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, which comprise Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Basically GOSI is social insurance with employee contributions and employer matches. You’ve got it. GOSI is mandatory in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

So you think – I am processing payroll in UAE why does GOSI matter? Here in lies the interesting part. If an employee from a country where GOSI is mandatory (Saudi Arabia) is working in another GCC country (UAE), then the work country (UAE) should register the employee for. GOSI, withhold the appropriate amount from the employee and pay the company match based on his nationality (Saudi Arabian). These funds are remitted to the Saudi Arabian authorities in UAE to be registered to the employees’ accounts.

It is apparent that the GCC is cooperating more and more on regional work force and funding issues. In addition to WPS and GOSI, there have been discussions on unifying currency and banking systems.

So although GCC is still considered one of the easiest payrolls to process in the world, interregional requirements are increasing the complexity of the calculations and compliance each year.

Michele Honomichl, Celergo’s executive chairman.