Taking up business activity in a new country is an exciting opportunity for growth, but it can also be a legally complex process. Spanish employment law encompasses a wide range of concepts relating to the people you are allowed to hire, what documentation they must have, and the rights those workers are entitled to while they are employed by your business. Some of these laws may be unfamiliar to businesses originating in non-European countries, such as Spanish employment law on holidays and paid vacation or Spanish employment law on working hours.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the most important features of Spanish law on employment for foreign businesses planning on starting operations in Spain, from hiring employees to worker rights and protections.
Spanish law on employment and hiring
When hiring employees for your business, the applicable Spanish employment law will vary depending on the nationality or residency status of the prospective employee, as well as their age. EU nationals (or EEA nationals) are generally able to live and work in Spain without a visa or special work permit. On the other hand, non-EU citizens will need the employer to apply on their behalf for a work permit, and then they will need to apply for a visa once the work permit has been secured. Spanish law on employment rights and benefits will usually apply to any employee working for your company in Spain, regardless of their nationality. Much of this paperwork can be down by granting power of attorney to your legal representative specializing in Spanish business law.
Spanish employment law states that work permits are usually not granted to foreigners when there are Spanish citizens who are able to fill the position, with some exceptions in specific circumstances.
As an employer operating in Spain, you should be aware that certain grants in the form of reduced Social Security obligations on your part or other incentives may be available in return for hiring workers from certain at-risk groups, such as workers over age 45, people with disabilities and women who have been victims of domestic violence.
Spanish employment law on holidays and vacatio
Workers are entitled to paid vacation and public holidays according to Spanish employment law on holidays. This includes 14 paid public holidays in addition to 30 days of paid vacation time per year. This vacation cannot be made up for in the form of monetary compensation.
In addition, the law sets minimum periods of rest during the workday and between work shifts, which is generally 15 paid minutes if the workday is six hours or longer (or 30 minutes if the workday is four and a half hours or longer if the worker is under age 18) and at least 12 hours between the end of one shift and the start of the next.
Spanish employment law on working hours and overtime
Spanish law on employment places restrictions on the maximum number of hours an employee can work per day and, as an average, per week. For adults age 18 and older, the maximum number of hours that can be worked in one day is 9, with an annual average of no more than 40 hours per week. There must also be at least one and a half uninterrupted days off in each week.
Spanish employment contract law
There is no requirement in Spanish employment contract law that the contract must be in writing (except for some temporary or fixed-period positions). However, you are responsible for providing, in writing, certain basic information to your employees about the position, their compensation, etc.
At Henry Towers, our goal is to make running your business in Spain as easy as possible, which is why we are happy to handle everything from filing paperwork for work permits to assisting in choosing and hiring your first employees.