Spanish Labor Law in 2024: A Quick and Easy Guide

Spanish Labor Law in 2024

Spanish Labor Law in 2024

June 10, 2024


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Picture of INS Global



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Key Takeaways

  1. Staying updated on the latest amendments and interpretations of Spanish labor law is vital for long-term security
  2. The right local expert can guide you through the intricacies of each structure and choose a structure that best suits your specific business goals
  3. Reliable resources of information include local legal experts and official information from the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy (Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social)


Spain, synonymous with vibrant culture, breathtaking coastlines, and a rich historical tapestry, also boasts a thriving economy and strategic location in Europe. Spain offers a skilled workforce and a dynamic business environment for businesses seeking to expand their reach. However, navigating the intricacies of Spanish labor law is crucial for success.

Being familiar with Spanish labor laws and knowledge of how to ensure compliance are central aspects of a successful expansion to the market, so this comprehensive guide provides a clear overview of key regulations, processes, and best practices needed to ensure you can foster a positive work environment for your Spanish employees.


Understanding the Fundamentals of Spanish Labor Law


Spanish labor law ensures worker rights and fair treatment. Here are some essential laws to remember:

·      Workers’ Statute (Estatuto de los Trabajadores) – The cornerstone of Spanish labor law, which regulates aspects like working hours, minimum wages, overtime pay, and termination procedures.

·      Workers’ Representatives Act – Establishes the framework for trade unions and employee representation within companies.

·      Occupational Risk Prevention Act – Sets standards for workplace safety and health regulations.


Staying updated on the latest amendments and interpretations of Spanish labor law is vital for long-term security. Therefore, consulting experienced professionals or reliable resources from the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy (Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social) is highly recommended.


legal protection scales


Employment Contracts in Spain


Written employment contracts are mandatory in Spain. Employers are required to clearly outline terms like job description, compensation, working hours, benefits, and termination clauses in contracts to ensure compliance with Spanish labor law.

Key points to remember include:


  • Contracts can be in Spanish or another language understood by both parties.
  • Probation periods are typically limited to 6 months or less, depending on the position and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Fixed-term contracts have limitations and require specific justifications. These contracts are generally discouraged and cannot be renewed indefinitely.
  • Independent contractors require separate agreements adhering to tax and social security regulations.


In general, clear and legally compliant contracts protect employers and employees under Spanish labor law.


Working Hours and Overtime in Spain


The standard workweek in Spain is 40 hours, with a maximum workday of 8 standard hours. However, flexibility exists within these parameters, including overtime, which is permitted but is required to be compensated at a rate of at least 75% higher than the regular wage rate for the first 2 hours and 100% thereafter.

Rest periods of at least 15 minutes for a workday exceeding 6 hours, and 60 minutes for a workday exceeding 8 hours, are mandatory.

Daily rest periods of at least 12 hours between working days are also mandated.


Types of Leave: Understanding Entitlements under Spanish Labor Law


Spanish labor law mandates various types of leave for employees, including:


  • Annual leave – Employees are entitled to at least 30 days of paid annual leave after one year of service.
  • Sick leave – Up to 15 days of paid sick leave are granted if employees are able to provide a doctor’s note. For extended illnesses, employees may transition to disability benefits.
  • Maternity leave – Up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave is legally mandated, followed by optional unpaid leave.
  • Paternity leave – 5 weeks of paid paternity leave is mandated by law.
  • Special leave benefits – Additional leave may be granted as needed for specific circumstances like marriage, death in the family, or serious illness.


Employers must adhere to these leave provisions and ensure smooth transitions for employees taking authorized leave, as stipulated by Spanish labor law.


Notice Periods in Spain


Notice periods for termination vary depending on the employee’s length of service and nature of employment. However, Spanish labor law outlines minimum notice periods:

Employers must provide 15 days of written notice for employees who have been employed for less than a year. Notice periods increase to 30 days of written notice for employees with more than a year of service.


Termination in Spain


Terminating employment in Spain requires following specific procedures outlined in Spanish labor law, including providing valid reasons and appropriate notice periods. Additionally, severance pay might be required under certain circumstances.

Understanding Severance Pay:


  • Objective Dismissal – If termination is deemed to be an “objective dismissal,” meaning it was due to reasons beyond the employer’s control (e.g., economic downturn, restructuring), the employer must pay severance pay equivalent to 20 days’ salary for each year of service, capped at a maximum of 12 months’ salary.
  • Disciplinary Dismissal – For termination due to serious employee misconduct, no severance pay is required. However, the employer must follow strict procedures to prove the misconduct.
  • Mutual Termination – If both employer and employee agree to terminate the contract, severance pay negotiations can occur but are not mandatory.


Establishing an Entity in Spain


Venturing into the vibrant Spanish market traditionally requires starting a business entity locally. Depending on the chosen company structure, the process can range from straightforward to intricate.

Here’s a breakdown of the different entities and the complexity involved:


  • Sociedad Limitada (SL) – This is the most popular option for many foreign investors due to its relative ease of setup and limited liability protection. The process involves minimal capital requirements and can be completed in a shorter timeframe compared to other structures.
  • Sociedad Anónima (SA) – A more complex structure suited for larger corporations with significant capital needs. The setup process is more involved and requires a higher minimum capital investment. However, it offers greater flexibility for ownership structures and attracting investors.
  • Branch Office – This option might be suitable for representative functions or limited activities. However, it comes with restrictions on operations and higher taxation compared to other structures. Establishing a branch office is generally the quickest and simplest option, but limitations on scope and tax implications make it less suitable for long-term business goals.


Consulting with experienced professionals familiar with Spanish labor law and corporate law is crucial when considering starting a company in Spain.

The right local expert can guide you through the intricacies of each structure and choose a structure that best suits your specific business goals, risk tolerance, and long-term vision for your Spanish operations.


Spanish Labor Law - Labor Laws in Spain in 2024


Why Choose an EOR for Your Spanish Expansion?


With extensive experience navigating Spanish labor law and regulations, an EOR in Spain like INS Global offers several advantages when hiring employees in Spain or managing employer responsibilities, including:


  • Reduced Risks and Costs – EORs in Spain handle legal complexities and compliance on your behalf, minimizing risks and associated costs of opening a new legal entity and the potential fines that come from Spanish labor law non-compliance.
  • Streamlined Operations – They manage entity setup, registration, and ongoing compliance with Spanish labor law, allowing you to focus on core business activities.
  • Local Expertise – The team of an EOR in Spain possesses knowledge of local regulations and cultural practices, ensuring seamless operations and effective employee management that are aligned with Spanish employment law best practices.
  • Scalability – Spanish EOR solutions adapt to your evolving needs as your business scales, ensuring adherence to Spanish labor law as you expand.


By partnering with a reputable EOR in Spain with a local business entity, you gain valuable experience, peace of mind, and the ability to focus on growing your business effortlessly in the Spanish market, all while maintaining compliance with Spanish labor law throughout your journey.

Contact INS Global today to discuss your Spanish expansion plans and discover how our Spanish EOR solutions can empower your success, ensuring streamlined compliance with Spanish labor law throughout your entire journey to global success.


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