If you have been offered a job in Spain, get acquainted with Spanish labour law, including negotiating your contract and terminating employment.
Your Spanish employment contract may be in writing or verbal, but a verbal contract is very unusual. Contracts in Spain are sent to the Public State Employment Service within 10 days from their coming into force. A simple copy of the employment contracts, previously handed into the legal representative of the workers, should also be sent to the Public State Employment Service.
Note that the minimum working age in Spain is 16, although permission from parents or guardians is required up to 18 years of age, unless the person is legally emancipated.
A probationary period may be required, although it is not compulsory. If required, it must be stated in writing and the maximum duration of the probationary period is six months for qualified technicians and two months for other workers. During the probationary period, the working relationship may be terminated by either of the parties for any reason, without giving any notice and without any compensation, unless otherwise agreed. The probationary period is included when calculating seniority and workers have the same rights and obligations as other workers on the workforce during that period.
When a working relationship exceeds four weeks and the contract has not been drawn up in writing, the employee must inform the worker of the essential points of the work contract and the conditions under which the work is carried out within two months of the date on which the working relationship commences.
Spanish labour law: the employment contracts
- Identity of the parties, address of the company and the workplace where the worker performs his duties
- Date on which the working relationship starts, category or professional group of the job performed, duration of an ordinary working day and how this is spread out
- Amount of initial basic salary and supplements to pay and also when paid (monthly, weekly, etc.)
- Number of days holiday and, where applicable, how holiday dates are determined
- Period of notice that the employer and employee must give, should the contract be terminated, or at least how this period must be worked out
- The collective agreement applicable to the employment relationship, stating the specific features by which it can be identified
Different types of contracts
The aim of this contract is to enter into a working relationship without establishing a time limit. Such contracts may be drawn up verbally or in writing for full or part-time agreements.
Temporary contracts may be drawn up in the following circumstances:
- Contract for the performance of a specific task or service: These are agreed for carrying out a task or performing a specific service, whose execution, though limited in time, is of uncertain duration at the outset. If the duration exceeds one year, advance notice of 15 days before the end of the task or service is required to terminate the contract. If the employer fails to provide this notice, the worker is entitled to compensation
- Contract for production contingencies: The aim of this contract is to meet circumstantial requirements associated with the employment market, a back-log or glut of orders
- This contract may not run for more than 6 months within a 12 month period
- Temporary replacement contract: When it is necessary to replace a worker with the right to retain the position. Must specify the worker replaced and the reason for the replacement
These may be drawn up with workers aged over 16 and under 21 who lack the qualifications required to draw up a work experience contract. Some groups may be employed under the terms of a training agreement even though they are over the age limit. This contract must run for at least six months but cannot be longer than two years.
Work experience contracts
The following requirements must be fulfilled in order to enter into this contract:
- The worker must possess one of the following qualifications: University or Vocational Training qualification, or equivalent.
- More than four years should not have elapsed since ending the corresponding studies or since the studies were validated in Spain if the qualification was obtained abroad, or six years if the contract is drawn up with a disabled worker.
This contract must run for at least six months but cannot be longer than two years.
Home-work and part-time contracts
The duration of such contracts may be indefinite or fixed. In both cases, they will always be drawn up in writing, specifying the place where the services are provided and the duration of the working day.
Changes in contracts
The terms and conditions of the employment relationship may be changed during the employment relationship, although employers must comply with the requirements and procedures laid down in labour legislation.
The following changes may be made in the following situations:
Substantial changes to the contract
Changes in any of the following areas: working hours, timetable, shift system, remuneration systems, system of work and performance. The worker has the right to terminate his contract if the modification is to his detriment and, in such a case, he is entitled to receive 20 days’ compensation for each year worked (maximum of nine monthly payments).
Change of duties
A worker may be asked to perform duties of higher or lower categories than those for which he was recruited; if they are of a lower category, he retains the wage for the job carried out previously; if they are of a higher category, the worker must receive the wage corresponding to that category. If duties in a higher category are carried out for periods in excess of six months in a year or eight months in two years, the worker is entitled to ask for promotion.
If a worker is transferred or moved to another workplace in a different location involving a change of residence, or when there is a move lasting for more than 12 months in a 3 year period, the company must give the worker 30 days’ notice of the move and must provide financial compensation for the costs incurred.
The worker has the right to terminate his contract if he does not consent to the move; he is entitled to receive 20 days’ compensation for each year worked (maximum of 12 monthly payments).
When any of the above types of change in working conditions occur, those concerned are advised to consult their trade union representatives in the company or the trade unions themselves immediately.