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Work Hours


Spain is a southern European country. Spanish is the official language and Catalan, Basque and Galician are co-official languages. Spain is a member of the European Union. It is estimated that foreign multinationals located in Spain account for more than 50% of the country’s exports. Spain has 46 million people and is economically significant in the Eurozone. It is also known for many tourist destinations, including the Canary Islands, Mallorca, and Ibiza. Madrid is home to the headquarters of numerous international and national companies.

In Spain, indefinite employment contracts may be verbal or in writing. Employment contracts that must be in writing include those for:

  • discontinuous fixed services,

  • training,

  • part-time work,

  • fixed term of more than four weeks,

  • remote working, and

  • employment outside Spain.

A fixed-term employment contract has a fixed or specific duration. Employers can use a fixed-term contract to substitute employees or production needs. A fixed-term contract for a substitute employee must include the name of the replaced employee, and the reason for the temporary replacement.

Working hours in Spain are generally set by individual or collective agreement but cannot exceed 40 hours a week on average over a year. Working hours generally cannot exceed nine hours a day, unless otherwise provided by collective or individual agreement. The maximum amount of overtime allowed is 80 hours per year. Overtime that is offset by rest time (not payment) within four months is not included in the calculation of annual overtime hours. Overtime performed at night is prohibited except in expressly authorized situations. Night work is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Employers must inform local labor authorities if night work is performed on a regular basis. Night work may not exceed an average of eight hours a day over a 15-day period. Employees who perform three or more hours of their work at night, or a third of their workday at night, are night workers.

Sick leave in Spain is 12 months, which can be extended to another six months. Sick leave is known as temporary disability (Incapacidad Temporal). Eligible employees receive up to 75% of the regulatory base pay during sick leave. To be eligible sick leave benefits, employees must have at least 180 days of contributions in the five years before taking sick leave. If the sick leave is related to an accident, there is no minimum qualifying period. Employees also need to have a medical certificate from a doctor’s affiliate in the Public Health System.

Female employees are entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave in Spain. Maternity leave can be extended for the birth of multiple children up to 18 weeks for the birth of twins and 20 weeks for the birth of triplets. Leave will also be extended by two weeks if the child is disabled. Maternity leave also can be extended for up to 13 weeks if the child requires hospitalization for more than seven days. Fathers are entitled to 16 weeks of paid paternity leave. This leave can be taken simultaneously with maternity leave. Eligible employees can receive payments from Spain’s social security scheme while on leave for the birth of a child.

Employees in Spain are entitled to a monthly minimum wage. Salaries may be paid in money and in goods. Salary paid in goods cannot exceed 30% of the employee’s salary or reduce the total amount paid in money to less than the minimum salary. Employees are entitled to two bonuses a year. One bonus is paid around the Christmas holidays and the other in a month fixed by a collective agreement or by the employer and the employee's representative. The amount of the bonuses is generally fixed by collective agreement but not less than the employee’s basic monthly salary.

Employees in Spain are entitled to at least 30 calendar days of paid vacation leave per year. Payment in lieu of annual leave is not allowed. Leave will be decided by mutual agreement between the parties or as indicated in a collective agreement.

In Spain, the public holidays are:

  • Epiphany

  • Good Friday

  • Labor Day

  • Assumption Day

  • Hispanic Day

  • All Saints Day

  • Constitution Day

  • Immaculate Conception Day

  • Christmas Day

Spain provides public health care to eligible individuals. Social security payments fund the system. Employers may choose to offer private health insurance to their employees.

Spain does not have at-will employment. An employer and an employee must have an objective reason to terminate an employment contract. Employers must give notice to employees when dismissing an employee. Employers may dismiss employees for objective or disciplinary reasons. The employer’s rights and obligations depend on the reason for the termination and the terms of the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Employers must give an employee 15 days’ notice of termination and a termination letter stating the reason for the dismissal. Employers can provide pay instead of notice. Severance is up to 20 days of salary for each year of service.

  • Local Laws & Regulations

    We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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