Employment Contract (Contrato de trabajo)

If you are working in Spain you will enjoy a strict protection of your rights, all your rights are detailed in your contract. You should therefore make sure you are provided with a legal contract (in fact it is illegal to work without one, and those caught doing so will be deported back to their home country). Work contracts will be provided in Spanish and it is advisable to have it translated.

The two main contracts are:

‘¢ Indefinite term contract

‘¢ Fixed term contract

Generally most work contracts are different because it depends on the type of work you are carrying out for each individual company. Most contracts allow for a siesta period between 14.00 and 17.00 in the afternoon.

Mainly one year contracts are provided with 14 or 15 monthly payments including extra pay at Easter and Christmas. Standard practice is to give an extra vacation payment in August.

At the termination of a contract, depending upon the length of employment, employees may generally be granted a severance payment, which is related to the length of employment and wage.

Should you be unhappy and feel that your contract has been wrongfully terminated, you are entitled to present a demand for conciliation within 20 days. The outcome is reliant on the agreement between the parties. If no agreement is reached, you may place a suit before the Labour Court (Juzgado de lo Social) within 20 days. If the court finds in your favour, you will receive 45 days compensation for every year of your employment. If you remain unsatisfied, you have five days to file for recourse.

Cost of living and Quality of life You have to bear in mind that wages tend to be lower in Spain but the living costs are relative to what you earn, when compared to the UK where living costs and the standard of living is considerably higher. Spain does enforce a minimum wage.

Working hours and holidays

The Spanish have a standard working week consisting of 40 hours, with overtime this can reach 43 hours. The normal working day includes a two or three hour afternoon siesta and a later finishing time. In the summer months working hours may change. There are no scheduled coffee or tea breaks, but employees take these around their working schedule.

Overtime is not compulsory when working in Spain but can never exceed 80 hours a year. Overtime should be paid at the normal rate plus a minimum of 75% of the normal hourly rate. Time off may be given in lieu of overtime but there must be a written agreement beforehand.

If you are a full time employee you will be entitled to one month’s paid annual holiday (20 days) and a minimum of one and half days off per month. Spain has 14 national and local paid public holidays a year. If your holiday falls on a weekend, another day is not usually granted unless the number of public holidays that falls below a certain number. It is advisable to check with your employer what the allowances are in your workplace.

Benefits of working in Spain

The employer deducts all the employment taxes and Social Security contributions and pays them directly to the official offices. Deductions come to around 8.4%, which breaks down to 2% IRPF (tax) and 6.4% Social Security contributions. Fringe benefits for contracted employees include health coverage under social security, workmen’s compensation, unemployment and retirement.

Information kindly supplied by Ambient