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11. Employee Benefits

Social Security

In Spain, the legal framework for the principal system of social protection is derived primarily from the Social Security Act 1/1994. The social security system of national insurance contributions covers:

  • common contingencies, these contributions cover the situations included in the general social security regime;
  • professional contingencies cover expenses resulting from labour accidents and occupational diseases;
  • overtime; and
  • other concepts such as unemployment, training or the Wage Guarantee Fund.

Healthcare and Insurances

Social security offers public medical care to all affiliated workers.

Required Leave

Holidays and Annual Leave

Employees are entitled to a minimum of thirty (30) days of paid vacation per year. This can be improved by contract or collective agreement. In addition, there are fourteen (14) public non-working days per year, which may differ slightly by  region.

Maternity and Partner Leave

Royal Decree-Law 6/2019 entered into force on 8 March 2019. This regulation aims to achieve real and effective equality between men and women in the promotion of personal and family life. The new Royal Decree introduces a novelty in paid leaves for birth and adoption, which applies to all births that occurred after 1 April 2019. This novelty is the equalisation of the time for both parents to enjoy the leave for birth and adoption. Therefore, every progenitor will be allowed to take 16 weeks of leave. Until now, article 48 of the Workers’ Statute used to provide 5 weeks for paternity leave and 16 weeks for maternity. According to the Regulation, the term “Paternity” has been replaced by “Partner Leave” and refers to the parent other than the biological mother. The Regulation foresees a gradual application of the time allotted for ‘partner leave’ in the course of the following years:


  • from 1 April 2019, partner leave will last 8 weeks
  • from 1 January 2020, partner leave will last 12 weeks
  • from 1 January 2021, partner leave will last 16 weeks.

In conclusion, for the year 2020 the situation is the following:

  • Maternity leave lasts sixteen (16) weeks. The mother must take six (6) of these weeks immediately after the birth. The remaining ten (10) weeks can be organised by the mother under her discretion until the child is twelve months old. However, the biological mother can anticipate the suspension up to four weeks before the expected date of birth.
  • For births after 1 January 2020, partner leave will last twelve (12) weeks. The partner must take four (4) of these weeks immediately after the birth. The remaining eight (8) weeks can be organised by the progenitor under his/her discretion until the child is twelve months old. From 1 January 2021, partner leave will last sixteen (16) weeks. This is an individual right of the worker and its exercise cannot be transferred to the other parent.

Sickness and Disability Leave

Temporary disability benefits are daily subsidies that cover the worker’s loss of income due to any sickness such as common diseases or non-work-related injuries, occupational diseases or work-related injuries. The maximum duration of the benefit is 365 days, but it can be extended for a further 180 days if, during this period, the person is expected to be cured. In case of common diseases, the worker’s beneficiaries must have been affiliated in the social security scheme or be able to prove to have covered a 180-day contribution period in the preceding 5 years. In case of injuries, whether work-related or not, and occupational diseases, previous contributions are required. The contents and amounts of these benefits are the following:

  • in case of common diseases and non-work-related injuries the amount will be 60% of the base rate from the 4th day of leave until the 20th, inclusive, and 75% from the 21st day onward.
  • in case of occupational diseases or work-related injuries the amount will be 75% of the base ratefor benefits from the day following the date of leave from work.

In the case of disability of the child or the adopted child or foster care child, the suspension of the contract for maternity leave and partner leave will have an additional duration of two weeks, one for each parent. Whoever, for reasons of legal custody, needs to be in charge of the direct care of a child under twelve years of age, or a person with a physical or sensorial disability who does not perform any paid activity, shall have the right to a reduction of their working day, with the proportional decrease in salary between, at least, an eighth, and at most, half of its duration.

Workers shall also have the right to a leave of not more than two years, unless a greater period is established by collective bargaining, in order to attend to the care of a family member up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity who, for reasons of age, accident, illness or handicap, cannot fend for him/herself and who does not perform any paid activity.

Any Other Required or Typically Provided Leave(s)

Article 37 of the Workers’ Statute recognises the following benefits:

  • 15 calendar days in case of marriage;
  • 2 days for the death, accident or serious illness, hospitalisation or surgical operation without hospitalisation, but requiring home rest, of relatives up to second degree of consanguinity or affinity. Should the worker need to travel for this purpose, the interval shall be 4 days;
  • 1 day for change of domicile;
  • for the indispensable time required to comply with an inexcusable duty of public and personal character, including the exercise of active suffrage. Where a specific period is reflected in a legal or conventional norm, such provision shall be respected as regards the duration of the absence and its economic compensation;
  • to perform union or personnel representation functions under the terms legally or conventionally established;
  • for the indispensable time required to undergo pre-natal check-ups and childbirth preparation techniques that have to occur during the working day.

Pensions: Mandatory and Typically Provided

Retirement pensions are included in all social security regimes and are for life. The conditions for obtaining a pension include:

  • having turned sixty-five (65) years of age (there are exceptions: it could gradually change from 65 to 67 years if it attests 38,5 of contribution); and
  • having paid national insurance contributions for a minimum of fifteen (15) years – at least two (2) years of contributions must have taken place within the 15 years prior to retirement.
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