A job offer in Spain sounds like a dream come true, but does it pay enough? Get our expat guide to salaries and the minimum wage in Spain.
Even with plenty of sunshine and delicious food, your finances can make a big impact on your quality of life. As such, if you plan to move to Spain to live and work you should be aware of how much you can expect to earn. Use this guide to average salaries and the minimum wage in Spain to learn about the following topics:
- Minimum wage in Spain
- Exclusions and variations to minimum wage
- What to do if you’re not being paid the minimum wage
- Average salary in Spain
- Gender pay gap in Spain
- Salaries and wages for expats
- What to do if your salary is too low
- Useful resources
Minimum wage in Spain
The minimum wage (SMI, or Salario Mínimo Interprofesional) applies to all workers regardless of their age, gender, or employment contract in Spain. It includes casual, temporary, and domestic work.
The Spanish government adjusts the minimum wage each year based on a variety of factors, 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.
The government has been steadily increasing the minimum monthly wage over the past decades. In fact, it has ballooned by more than 60 percent, up from €600 per month in 2000 to around €1,125 gross per month in 2021 (€965 monthly payable in 14 installments to allow for the double salary in July and December). In other words, you should at least earn €7.43 per hour in 2021.
As a full-time worker with a minimum salary, you will generally receive €965 a month, payable in 14 installments to allow for the double monthly salary in July and December. The government might boost the minimum wage in Spain in 2021 by a further €50 to €250 per month.
Spain provides many legal protections for workers. As such, contracts, working hours, paid leave, and wages are just a few of the highly regulated areas of Spanish employment. Under Spain’s labor law, an employee’s salary can be monetary or in-kind, but the latter cannot be higher than 30% of the total amount of the salary.
Minimum wage in Spain: exclusions and variations
Every worker in Spain is entitled to receive the minimum wage, including minors (at least 16 years old). Many industries in Spain operate collective agreements. These cover minimum wages and workers’ rights within either a group of companies or the industry as a whole. If your employment falls under a collective agreement, you could benefit from a higher minimum salary.
Councils (representing employers) and unions (representing employees) are particularly popular in the service industries. You can check with your employer if a union agreement applies.
Part-time workers in Spain
A full-time workweek in Spain is 40 hours. For part-time workers, the Spanish minimum wage is half of the total value.
Domestic workers in households are employees. Employers of domestic workers must pay at least a pro-rata Spanish minimum wage per hour (if less than a full day) and follow the regulations of Spanish labor law.
General labor laws also apply, even if the working relationship lasts less than three months. In some cases, they may be able to claim a pro-rata payment for Sundays and Spanish public holidays, plus their minimum legal holiday entitlement for time worked, assuming that such holidays were not taken during the contract term.
Interns and apprentices in Spain
Students in Spain who have a contract as a trainee or apprentice are generally paid at least the national minimum wage. One exception is in the case of certain apprenticeship contracts. In some instances, the apprentice receives a grant of up to a maximum of €300, while the company receives allowances for taking responsibility for training the student.
These contracts are typically for between one and three years. Above all, the salary should always be proportional to the hours that the student works.
Minimum wage calculator in Spain
As mentioned, Spain has a lower cost of living than many other western European countries. However, expenses can vary depending on where you live. For example, if you move to Barcelona or Madrid you can expect to pay much more for renting or buying a home than in smaller, less expensive towns.
As such, you should ensure that the minimum wage provides you with an acceptable standard of living and complies with Spanish labor laws before you sign a work contract. You can use a salary calculator to check.
What to do if you’re not being paid the minimum wage in Spain
If you’re not earning at least the minimum wage in Spain you can complain to the Labor Inspectorate, who will assess your case. The Spanish authorities can fine employers who fail to adhere to Spain’s minimum wage regulations.
The Spanish Salary Guarantee Fund (Fondo de Garantía Salarial, FOGASA) works with the Spanish Ministry of Labour (Ministerio de Trabajo) to guarantee the compensation of unpaid workers’ salaries as a result of their employer going insolvent, ceasing payments, going into liquidation or entering into composition with creditors.
Another protection for workers within Spain’s labor laws is the right to strike. For strikes against a single company, trade unions, elected representatives (works councils, employee delegates), or the employees themselves can organize. However, trade unions must call strikes affecting an entire sector.
Average salary in Spain
The average annual income in Spain is around €27,000, which is lower than many other EU countries. However, Spain also has a lower cost of living than most of its western European neighbors. A full-time worker may take 22 working days (30 calendar days) of paid holiday time annually. Furthermore, Spain has nine national public holidays in 2021 and two to three times as many at the local and regional levels.
Your employer will deduct your contributions to the state social security system from your salary. By paying into the system, you will be able to access public healthcare, 16 weeks of maternity and paternity leave, paid sick leave, state pension, and unemployment.
Your payslip in Spain should clearly state the name of the company and worker, salary, and deductions (including the worker’s social security contributions and IRPF (Impuesto sobre la renta de las personas físicas) or personal income tax deductions. 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.
Average salary in Spain by sector
Many minimum-wage workers in Spain are in the service sector. In 2021, a restaurant server in Spain typically earns from €510 per month (minimum salary) to €1,610 per month (maximum salary). The salaries vary based on experience level and the number of hours that they work.
- Surgeon €64,500
- Project manager engineer €59,900
- Sales manager €58,880
- IT director €48,000
Average salary in Spain by job level
Here is a quick summary of average salaries for different job levels, according to Paylab:
- General labor €1,135-€1,981
- Economy, Finance, Accountancy €1,087-€3,712
- Administration €1,098-€2,389
- Tourism, Gastronomy, Hotel Business €924-€2,331
- IT €1,746-€ 5,288
- Banking €1,041-€4,470
- Marketing, Advertising, PR €1,204-€3,696
If you’re moving to Spain for work, you can secure a higher salary by making sure your academic qualifications are recognized. You could also take advantage of opportunities to upskill with job training programs.
Average salary in Spain by region
According to Statista, workers in the Basque region of Spain earn the highest annual salaries (€28,500 on average). The second and third best-paid regions were Madrid and Navarre, where the average annual salaries are just over €26,000. Workers in Catalonia earn around €25,550 per year, on average. In Valencia, the average is close to €22,000.
Salary checker in Spain
You can use a salary checker to see what your profession will likely pay in Spain. Here are a couple of online platforms to help you:
Gender pay gap in Spain
Spain ranks in the top 10 on the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap index. It also is the 8th best EU country on the Gender Equality index with high marks when it comes to finances. That said, Spain still has a large pay gap between men and women. In fact, while men working full-time earned an average of €29,400 annually, women had annual average salaries of €26,300. The gender pay gap is higher in the private sector than in the public sector.
Fortunately, the country is taking steps to improve gender equality in the workplace. As of 2021, companies with 50 or more workers must create and implement an equality plan.
They must include a salary audit in the plan and make it publicly available. For companies with 50 or more employees, if one gender earns at least 25% higher than the other gender, the employer must justify that those salary differences are not based on discrimination.
Salaries and wages for expats in Spain
Of the more than 46 million people living in Spain, 14% are immigrants. Close to 63% of Spain’s foreign workforce population was employed in 2019. That’s a higher percentage than in Greece (53%) and France (58.9%), but lower than in the Netherlands (66.6%) and Germany (70.8%).
Colombia is one of the top countries of origin for immigrants to Spain. In 2019, more than 76.5 thousand people migrated from the South American country to Spain. The second largest group is Moroccans with around 73,000 newcomers.
Many expats move to Spain to teach English. According to Glassdoor, you can expect to earn around €15 per hour for this work. That’s double the minimum wage in Spain. Recently the Spanish authorities have rejected some residence permits for highly skilled migrants who were offered salaries of 30,000 per year or less. This is because the government doesn’t think the salary aligns with what a highly skilled worker should earn.
What to do if your salary is too low in Spain
If you are the victim of sex-based pay discrimination (or other kinds of discrimination) in Spain, you are entitled to claim and receive compensation and/or some other form of reparation. In this case, the complaint will likely be taken up by a specialized labor and employment court. Generally, before the labor courts will hear a case, the two sides must try to resolve the issue. The national public Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration Services (Servicios de Mediación, Arbitraje y Conciliación – SMAC) or a regional equivalent provide conciliation services.
If the employee and employer cannot reach an agreement, cases generally proceed to the local labor courts (juzgados de lo social). Their rulings can be appealed to the labor chamber of the relevant regional high court of justice (Tribunal Superior de Justicia), whose rulings can be appealed to the labor chamber of the Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo). Some labor law cases can be taken up by the Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional).