Finding a legal part-time job in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, can be so tough that many are forced into the black market.
Finding legal part-time work in Barcelona is probably harder than landing a full-time gig. Part of this has to do with the current economic environment. Mostly it’s because the concept of flexible part-time jobs based on hourly wages doesn’t really exist here.
Sure, companies offer part-time contracts. However, they’re usually for 25 hours a week and the choice of afternoon or evening shifts being your only option. You will be expected to work these set hours regardless of workload and sometimes more; there’s often no timesheet to monitor when you arrive and leave, and thus no overtime.
To avoid paying summer vacation, employers often only offer these contracts for periods of less than a year. You’ll be responsible for saving money from your €500–600 monthly paycheck for a summer or winter vacation.
Employers often fiddle with the tax percentage, especially if you’re hired during the year. This can happen without your knowledge. During the year, it seems you’re earning more, until April rolls around and you get a bill from the hacienda (tax department) saying you owe them.
Switching jobs or going from part- to full-time or vice-versa will almost surely see you pay. It’s almost enough to make a person decide never to file taxes ever again.
Where to look for short-term part-time jobs
If you’re only planning on staying for a short period of time, part-time contracts offer a reasonable, steady income. Most part-time jobs require Spanish and are in sales. If you don’t have knowledge of the language, there are call centers and English schools that offer part-time work. The best place to find out if a place is hiring is through the Metropolitan Magazine available in many English pubs or on Loquo.
Becoming autónomo is also an option because it allows you to earn a decent hourly wage. But going through the process and paying the taxes really isn’t worth it if you don’t plan on staying for the long term.
Some work illegally
What are your options if you just want to earn enough to pay for your Barcelona adventure? Personally, I think the best option is to go black. I read somewhere that the underground economy constitutes a fifth of the Spanish GDP and there’s a reason; it’s the only way to make a decent living for many people.
Vast and covering almost every service sector, there’s the option of passing out fliers for one of the hundreds of bars competing for customers. I’m not sure how payment works, but people seem to get by; they often lead to other under-the-table promotional bar work. Some restaurants might take you on and pay cash during peak months. Smaller English schools sometimes do the same, but it all depends on how legal they are. If you like working with your hands, there is always boat work at the marina.
But in all honesty, I still think your best option for working part-time is to discover your inner entrepreneur.
Written by an American expat, From Barcelona, is a blog dedicated to the city, the life and the people of Catalunya.