What is the minimum wage in Spain? Find out the Spanish minimum wage and average salary to help you estimate how much you’ll be paid as an expat worker.
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 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.
Minimum wage in Spain 2019
In 2019, the minimum wage in Spain has risen by an unprecedented 22%, increasing from €736 to €900. Announcing the reforms in December 2019, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announcing that “a rich country cannot have poor workers.” The rise is significantly higher than the 4% increase in 2018.
Many workers in Spain are paid 14 times a year (with additional payments in July and December), resulting in a minimum salary of €12,600 a year in 2019.
- Minimum wage 2019 based on 14 payments: €900.00 per month
- Minimum wage 2018 based on 14 payments: €736.00 per month
- Minimum wage 2017 based on 14 payments: €707.60 per month
More than 5.5 million people in Spain earn the Spanish minimum wage, and the reforms will make the biggest difference to women, who perform the bulk of part-time and temporary work. This should result in a cut to the gender pay gap in Spain, which stands at 14.2%, according to Eurostat.
How salaries are paid in Spain
Salaries in Spain must typically be paid for periods of no longer than a 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 €450 a month based on 14 monthly payments.
Domestic workers in households are deemed as employees, and their employer must also adhere to general labor 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 eighth highest out of 22 European countries that have statutory minimum salaries.
However, while Spain’s minimum wage is above some of its European peers such as Greece, Portugal and Poland, it remains well below the highest national minimum wages seen in Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, France and the UK.
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.
Labour laws for workers in Spain
Spanish labor 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.
Average salary in Spain
Data from Spain’s statistical institute (INE) shows Spanish workers earn an average of €23,000 a year. According to figures published in December 2017, the top five most well-paid jobs in Spain are:
- Commercial pilot: initial wage of €56,000–120,000 and up to €200,000 for very experienced pilots
- Surgeon: from €60,000 to €100,000 depending on speciality and experience
- Orthodontist: €65,000
- Engineering project director: €60,000
- ICT director: upwards of €50,000
Banking, financial and insurance companies reportedly pay the highest salaries in Spain.
Minimum wage in Spain by sector
Many industries in Spain operate collective agreements, which cover minimum wages and workers’ 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. The minimum wage in Spain listed above can thus be increased by collective bargaining or through an individual contract with a company.
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 Labour (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.