What is the minimum wage in Spain? Find out the Spanish minimum wage and average salary in Spain to help you estimate your expected average wage as an expat.
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.
Minimum wage in Spain 2018
For 2018, the government increased the national minimum wage in Spain by 4%. The 2018 increase represents a significant rise in Spanish minimum wages, though it’s considerably smaller than the 8% increase in 2017. Before 2017, wages increased by just €14 between 2011 and 2016 as a result of minimal increases and wage freezes.
- Spanish minimum wage 2018: €736.00 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2017: €707.60 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2016: €655.20 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2015: €648.60 per month
More than 5.5 million people in Spain earn the Spanish minimum wage, according to Spain’s two biggest unions, who have campaigned for at least a €800 monthly Spanish minimum wage.
One difference to note is that Spain’s monthly minimum wage is fixed at two levels, either €736.00 per month or €858.55 per month; both figures equate to the same annual Spanish minimum wage, but 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 2018:
- Daily minimum wage: €24.53
- Monthly minimum wage: €736.000 (based on 14 payments, or €858.55 based on 12)
- Annual minimum wage: €,10,304
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 €4.95 (based on annual minimum wage).
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 €368 a month based on 14 monthly payments. 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 eighth 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, the Netherlands, France and the UK.
Even though Spain’s minimum wage has increased fairly significantly in the last two years, it remains considerably lower than France, where the minimum wage is about €1,498, although higher than Portugal’s minimum wage at €676.
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
According to data from Spain’s statistical institute (INE), Spanish workers earn an average of €23,106 a year, with the most frequent wage being around €16,500 a year.
According to data published in December 2017, the top five most well-paid jobs in Spain are:
- Commercial pilot: initial base wage of €56,000–120,000 and up to €200,000 for very experienced pilots
- Surgeon: from around €60,000 to €100,000 depending on speciality and experience
- Orthodontist: average gross wage of €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
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 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.
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:
- Supplementary payments which 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 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.