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Working in Spain

22 agosto 2014

Signing a contract

Employment contracts can either be verbal or in writing, although in Spain the vast majority tend to be written. If the contract is verbal, the parties can require at any time during the validity of the contract that it be formalized in writing. In all cases, the employer is obliged to inform the corresponding employment office of the written or verbal contract.

Probationary period

Contracts can settle a period of probation during which either party can end the contract without having to give a reason, without having to give notice and without compensation. The maximum length of time permitted for this is six months for technicians with diplomas and two months for all other workers (three months in companies with less than 25 workers).

Through the probationary period, the workers have the same rights and obligations as workers on the payroll and this period is counted when calculating the time spent working at the company (length of service).

Wages

Wages are established by collective agreement or individual contracts and comprise:
  • Basic wage Bonuses: for length of service, overtime, profit sharing, bonuses for distance and transport, etc.
  • Job bonuses hardship, toxicity, danger, shift work, night work, etc Production bonuses, board and lodgings, etc.
  • Workers must be paid at least once a month and it is the employer who withholds taxes and Social Security from the workers’ wages.
  • One unusual aspect of wages in Spain is that workers are entitled to at least two extraordinary paychecks annually, normally one for Christmas and the other in summer. They can also be prorated monthly if this is agreed in a collective agreement.
  • The government sets the minimum wage (Spanish initials, SMI) annually. This is the minimum amount below which it is illegal to contract a worker.
In 2012, the minimum wage for any activity in agriculture, industry and services was 21.38 euros per day or 641.40 euros per month, with no discrimination for age or sex. The annual amount including bonuses may not be less than 8,979.60 euros for a full legal working day. For those working less than a full day, the wages are reduced in proportion to the time worked.

Unemployment benefits in Spain

Unemployment benefits In Spain covers by compulsory insurance against loss of employment. It protects, under certain requirements, the situations of lack of work while active searching of job. However, not all types of worker are eligible to obtain unemployment benefits, self-employed or freelance collective won´t be entitled to obtain this government assistance, domestic employees either since they, or their employer are not obligated to contribute for this contingence.

The Spanish unemployment benefit system has two levels of coverage:

  • Contributory level benefits All workers employed by someone else are entitled to receive contributory level unemployment benefits if they have contributed to the Social Security’s General Scheme for, at least 360 days and they have partially or completely lost their job for reasons beyond their control. The duration runs from 6 months to 2 years, depending of the working period of the last 6 years.
The first 6 months the amount of the monthly payment will be up to 70% calculated over the bases of contributions of the past 180 days, after that, it will decrease down to the 50%.
  • Welfare Welfare level benefits and allowances Workers who are legally unemployed and registered with the Public Employment Services but are not entitled to contributory benefits or whose benefits have run out can apply for an allowance or a welfare level unemployment benefit if they meet any of the conditions for specific special groups (people with a low income, family responsibilities, over 55 years of age, etc.).

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