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Employment Terms and Conditions

Spain - Employment Terms and Conditions


There are different sets of rules for employment in Spain and these are known as ‘convenio colectivo’. Each area has its own work ministry and these regulate minimum wage, the recommended number of working hours and holiday leave entitlement. Workers’ rights are also covered by this agreement and all workers should have a contract which protects their rights.

An employment contract will contain all the information about the job such as the title, salary, any benefits, working house and overtime. Working weeks are usually 40 hours and there is usually a 2 or 3 hour break in the afternoon of each working day to fit in with the ‘siesta’. Most contracts limit overtime to 80 hours each year and the rate should be agreed in advance or the worker given time in lieu. Each worker receives a minimum of 2.5 days paid leave for each month worked. This does not include the statutory public holidays.

There are different types of contracts available to workers in Spain. Many people are on a short term contract or a temporary contract (contraltos de duracion determinada). These are normally for work that has an uncertain end date. An internship (contratos formatives) is often used by companies to employ a young person as a form of work experience. These last for up to 2 years.

Workers can be hired on a short term contract to replace a worker that is retirement and this contract is known as a ‘retirement of workers’ (contratos relacionados con jubilacion de trabajadores). The retirement age is currently 65 but this will increase gradually over the next few years until it stops at 67. Workers can be hired on a disability contract (contratos para discapacitados). A business that has more than 50 workers is required to hire people who have disabilities to a minimum of 2% of the total staff. This contract gives added protection to those with disabilities and the employer gets additional benefits.

A short written or a verbal contract is used when the worker is hired for casual work or seasonal work. A verbal contract works on the assumption of a one year period of employment although there could be a written contract as well which specifies the period of employment. The terms of this type of contract allow for just 7 days notice of termination of contract.

If there is no other type of contract in place a worker is presumed to be on an indefinite term contract (indefinido). These contracts allow for 14 or 15 salary payments each year. The extra ‘monthly’ payments are usually made at Christmas, Easter and one in the summer. If a worker has the contract terminated for redundancy they are entitled to a severance pay (finiquito) of 45 days salary for every year that has been worked. The maximum payment is 42 months salary and pro rata payments are available for part years worked.

The current allowance for maternity leave is 12 paid weeks. Some of these can be taken before the birth. In the event of a multiple birth an expectant mother can take an extra two weeks for each additional child. A father is entitled to 15 days paternity leave although this can vary according to the type of job he is in. There are plans to increase this amount of leave in 2015 to 30 days.

As an incentive to have children the Spanish government introduced payments of €2500 (known as a ‘cheque bébé’. All those who are Spanish citizens and expats who have been officially resident in the country for two years before the baby’s due date are eligible for this payment. This payment can also be made to those who adopt a child. However, it is essential that at least one parent has completed the tax declaration for the previous tax year. The local tax office can help new parents to claim this payment. There are also allowances for children after they have been born. This is in the form of a monthly benefit and is paid by the department of social security.

Around 2.5 million workers in Spain are members of a trade union, which is a percentage of around 15.8% of all workers in the country. The two main unions are the CCOO and the UGT, which are roughly equal in size. There are also a number of smaller unions. There is no compulsory requirement to join a union and workers have the right to do so if they wish. Their rights are not affected by this.

There are voluntary company pension schemes in place which serve to top up the state pension provided by the social security system. Around 50% of the workforce has taken advantage of these schemes. They are not compulsory and it is also possible to opt for a private pension instead if preferred.


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