Minimum wage in Spain and average salary in Spain
What is the minimum wage in Spain? This guide explains Spanish minimum wage and average salary in Spain to help you estimate your expected average wage in Spain.
The minimum wage in Spain is known as SMI (Salario Mínimo Interprofesional) and applies to all workers regardless of their age, gender or employment contract, including casual and temporary work or personal work within the service of a household.
The Spanish minimum wage (or salario, wages in Spanish) is revised and set each year by the government through a Royal Decree. A variety of factors come in to play when deciding the minimum wage, including national productivity and employment levels. The Ministry of Employment and Social Security sets the minimum wage in Spain at daily, monthly and annual levels.
There are several words to refer to wages in Spanish that are sometimes used interchangeably:
- el salario, el sueldo – wages or salary in Spanish
- la paga, los emolumentos – pay
- la remuneración – remuneration
- los ingresos – income
Minimum wage in Spain
For 2017, the government increased the national minimum wage in Spain by 8 percent. The 2017 increase represents a significant rise in Spanish minimum wages, as seen below, when compared to an increase of just under EUR 14 in total between 2011 and 2016 as a result of minimal increases and wage freezes.
- Spanish minimum wage 2017: EUR 707.60 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2016: EUR 655.20 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2015: EUR 648.60 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2011: EUR 641 per month
However, more than 5.5mn people in Spain earn the Spanish minimum wage, according to Spain’s two biggest unions, who criticised the latest increase as still ‘insufficient’, falling below their campaign for at least a EUR 800 monthly Spanish minimum wage. If union and social-backed government plans are approved, minimum wage could see a quick hike to EUR 800 in a year followed by a more gradual raise to EUR 1,000 in coming years, although there is much objection.
One difference to note is that Spain’s monthly minimum wage is fixed at two levels, either EUR 707.60 per month or EUR 825.65 per month; both figures equate to the same annual Spanish minimum wage, however, the lower figure takes into account that some employers in Spain pay 14 monthly payments a year (including two ‘double months’ in June and December) rather than 12, typically dependent on collective or union agreements. The minimum wage is also offered as a daily rate to protect those who don’t earn a fixed monthly or yearly salary in Spain.
Minimum wages in Spain 2017:
- Daily minimum wage: EUR 23.59
- Monthly minimum wage: EUR 707.60 (based on 14 payments, or EUR 825.65 based on 12)
- Annual minimum wage: EUR 9,906.40
If the number of working hours comes to less than a full day, the quantity is proportionally reduced. The government doesn't set an official minimum wage in Spain per hour, although Spanish law sets the standard working week at 40 hours; for reference only, this would calculate to a Spanish minimum wage per hour of around EUR 4.75 (based on annual minimum wage). See the government's website for information on official minimum salary in Spain.
Salary in Spain must typically be paid for periods not exceeding one month. Your employer should provide you with a payslip clearly stating the name of the company and worker, salary, deductions (including the worker’s social security contributions and IRPF or income tax deductions).
The employer is responsible for collecting all contributions and therefore deducts the correct amount for the income tax (IRPF) and social security contributions due under the law. The amount deducted for IRPF depends on pay and personal and family circumstances (children and people dependent on the worker). Workers must provide the required information to their employers to properly calculate the corresponding deduction. In the case of temporary contracts lasting less than one year, the deduction rate is typically lower than standard tax rates.
Spanish minimum wage for part time workers
For part-time workers in Spain, the Spanish minimum wage is set at half of the total values, around a minimum of EUR 353.80 a month based on 14 monthly payments. Even domestic workers in households are deemed as employees, and their 'employer' must also adhere to general labour law and pay a domestic helper salary of, at least, a pro-rata Spanish minimum wage per hour (if less than a full day).
General labour laws also apply even if the working relationship lasts less than three months (seasonal or contract workers), meaning an employee must receive at least the minimum daily wage set and in some cases may be able to claim a pro-rata payment for Sundays and public holidays, plus their minimum legal holiday entitlement for time worked, assuming that such holidays were not taken during the contract term.
How does Spain's minimum wage compare?
In absolute terms the minimum wage in Spain ranks as the ninth highest out of 22 European countries that have statutory minimum salaries. However, while Spain’s minimum wage is above some of its European neighbours such as Greece, Portugal and Poland, it remains significantly below the highest national minimum wages seen in Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland, Holland, France and the UK. Even though Spain's 2017 wage increase was the largest in some 30 years, Spain's minimum wage is still considerably lower than its French neighbour where the minumum wage is EUR 1,467, although higher than Portugal's minimum wage at EUR 618.
Some workers might find compensation, however, in the particularly generous holiday allowance in Spain, which is exceptionally higher than in many EU countries. Annually, workers in Spain who have been employed for more than a year are entitled to 30 days of paid holiday, in addition to 14 days of Spanish national holidays.
Spanish labour law is also relatively protective, with labour laws restricting hours of work to nine per day, with a minimum of 12 hours rest time between working days. While rest periods per week vary between occupations, the standard rest period should be at least one and a half days per week.
Unless your industry’s collective agreement determines otherwise, overtime is limited to 80 hours per year, and must either be paid at the same (or a greater) level, or be reimbursed through paid time off. Breaks from employment are also included in Spanish legislation; in terms of day-to-day work, employees working for more than six hours must be given a 15-minute break, or 30 minutes for employees under 18 who work more than four and a half hours.
However, while Spanish working regulations are generally similar to elsewhere in Europe, a 2015 study by the Institute for Family Policies found that Spain had some of the most rigid working conditions in Europe, with Spaniards working some of the longest hours.
Average salary in Spain
In Q3 2016, Spain's statistic institute (INE) reported that the average salary in Spain decreased 0.3 percent to EUR 1,804.01 per month, or EUR 21,648 per year, which made up 73.8 percent of the total laboral cost per employee, which was EUR 2,444.80 per month or EUR 29,337 annually.
Survey websites, however, typically estimate higher average salaries in Spain for top positions, calculating the average wage in Spain at around EUR 48,000–50,000 (around EUR 35,000 net), although the most frequent gross salary is estimated at around EUR 25,000. Other estimates of average wages in Spain include:
- Directors, CEOs: EUR 80,000–120,000
- Executive managers: EUR 70,000–75,000
- IT and engineers: EUR 40,000–60,000
- Sales, marketing and HR: EUR 35,000–55,000
- Support services, translation, creative industries: EUR 10,000–30,000
Banking, financial and insurance companies reportedly pay the highest salaries in Spain.
Minimum wage in Spain by sector
Working conditions are laid out both in the Spanish Statute of Workers and any collective bargaining agreements set out by individual industries.
Many industries in Spain operate collective agreements, which cover minimum wages and worker’s rights within either a group of companies or the industry as a whole, and in some cases may be more favourable than general labour law. Agreements are generally set between councils representing employers and unions representing employees, and are particularly popular in the service industries. You can check with your employer if a union agreement applies.
In recent years, collective agreements have become easier to enact, after a labour reform in 2012 allowed agreements to more easily govern more aspects of working.
The minimum wage in Spain listed above can thus be increased by collective bargaining or through an individual contract with a company. Salaries in Spain established in this way can comprise:
- Basic pay
- Supplementary payments which are are based on the work conditions: difficulty, toxicity, hazardousness, shift work, night work and other types of production bonuses, such as for quality or quantity of work, maintenance or accommodation.
- Pagas extraordinarias (extraordinary payments). Workers have an annual entitlement to at least two extraordinary payments: the number is established by collective bargaining or by agreement between the employer and the workers’ representative. Normally, one is paid at Christmas and another in July. The amount may be paid on a monthly pro-rata basis if so agreed.
Earning less than the Spanish minimum wage
If you’re not being paid the minimum wage in Spain and should be, you can complain to the Labour Inspectorate, who will assess your case. Employers who fail to adhere to Spain's minimum wage regulations can be fined.
Salary in Spain guarantee
The Spanish Salary Guarantee Fund (Fondo de Garantía Salarial, FOGASA) works with the Spanish Ministry of Labor (Ministerio de Trabajo) to guarantee compensation of unpaid workers’ salaries as a result of their employer going insolvent, ceasing payments, going into liquidation or entering into composition with creditors.
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