The minimum working age is 16. Hiring an employee is normally formalized by a contract, although this is not a statutory requirement. Standard employment contracts in Spain are permanent, although temporary contracts for specific circumstances are also permitted by law.

Due to the lack of flexibility in the Spanish labour legislation, it is important to ensure that the most suitable type of contract is drawn up at the outset.

Employers cannot discriminate in the selection or promotion of employees on the grounds of sex, marital status, age, nationality, religion or race.

There are special rules to determinate the taxable retribution for the employee

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There are some employment contract modalities that have to be in writing to be valid:

  • Part-time contracts.
  • Formative contracts.
  • Employees working at their home address.
  • Contracts for a fixed work or service.
  • Employees hired in Spain by Spanish companies to provide services abroad.
  • Temporary contracts lasting more than four weeks.

Employers have to give a copy of these contracts to the employees’ representatives.

If the contract is not in writing, either of the parties are entitled to request the written form from the other party, at any time.

Top executives employment

A top executive is a person who has broad powers of attorney or administration relating to overall company objectives and exercises authority with autonomy and full responsibility, reporting only to the company’s governing body.

The terms of employment for such executives are subject to fewer constraints than for ordinary employees.

As a general rule, the parties have a wide margin of flexibility in defining their relationship by contract.

Top executives may be dismissed without cause, in which case they are entitled to an indemnification of seven days’ pay per year of service up to a maximum of six months’ salary unless other terms are agreed to by contract.

Top executive contracts commonly stipulate indemnification provisions that are higher than the legal minimum.

Wages, salaries, working hours and vacation

Generally, the annual salary is paid in twelve or fourteen payments. When paid in fourteen instalments, two of these payments are made in June and Christmas in addition to the monthly wage for those months.

A minimum wage per month is fixed each year by the government, irrespective of sectors or type of work. Other collective wage agreements may stipulate different conditions and wages.

The average annual holiday is 30 calendar days or 22 labour days. The normal working week may not exceed 40 hours, while overtime may not exceed 80 hours in any one year. Unless agreed to the contrary, overtime worked must be compensated by time off work during the four months following the date of the overtime being worked.

Fringe benefits and other benefits in kind such as housing, company car, schooling and meals are taxed as part of the remuneration of the employee and may not exceed 30% of the salary.

Among others, the following salaries in kind, have special rules to determinate the taxable retribution for the employee:

  • Nursery and child care expenses
  • Use of company car
  • Use of private car
  • Housing
  • Insurances
  • Offer of company shares
  • Pension plan
  • Ticket restaurant
  • Tax free perceptions
  • Free meal allowances