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In Spain, the legal minimum employment age is 18. However, 16 and 17 year-olds are allowed to work with parental consent. All employees must be provided with an employment contract on or prior to their first day of employment. It is possible to have a trial period (periodo de prueba) included in an employment contract, but it is often limited by law or collective agreements to 2 months.

Types of Contract

  • Tiempo completo: full-time (often 40 hours per week).
  • Indefinido: a full-time contract for an unlimited time period.
  • Temporal: a full-time contract for a set period of time.
  • Tiempo parcial: part-time (number of hours agreed between the employer and employee with pay and social security payments set accordingly).

The maximum number of weekly work hours is 40. You cannot exceed 9 hours per day. Overtime hours cannot exceed 80 per year, they cannot be compulsory and they must be compensated economically or by time off.

If you accept a contract as a self-employed individual (autónomo) it is worth reading up on self-employment in Spain.

Read out article Starting a business in Spain – Registration of self – employment (autónomo) to find out more about being self-employed in Spain.


There is a minimum wage that is fixed annually by the government. Based on this figure there are binding general wage agreements (convenios colectivos) for most sectors.

A peculiar aspect of the payment of salaries in Spain is that employees expect to receive, as a general rule, 14 annual payments; 12 corresponding to the worked months and two extraordinary payments, one at Christmas and another during the summer.

Social Security Contributions

The general risk contribution represents 28.3% of an employee’s wages, with the employer paying 23.6% and the employee paying 4.7%.

The government offers hiring bonuses to employers taking on permanent staff. These vary according to the type of employment the government is seeking to encourage. Some examples are the employment of unemployed women, women who’ve given birth within the last 2 years, young people (below 30) and the disabled. The bonuses can be up to €1,500 per year for four years. The bonuses for disabled employees tend to be higher and for a longer period of time.


Holiday rights are set by agreement (convenio) but 30 days a year is the standard, with Saturdays and Sundays included. There are also 12 national public holidays and two local public holidays per year.

Monthly Wage

Every month the employer has to produce a wage slip (nómina) which includes an analysis of the employee’s salary and deductions for the month. It is the employer’s responsibility to deduct the employee’s social security contributions and income tax. The employee keeps a copy and the employer keeps another copy which must be signed by the employee.


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