Paid Time Off (PTO) and Leave Regulations in Spain

Annual leave, sick leave, parental entitlements, and more.

Updated on March 9th, 2023

What is the statutory minimum annual leave in Spain?

According to our applicable CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), our employees in Spain are entitled to 23 working days of paid annual leave each year.

Can the accrued annual leave be paid out at the end of the calendar year?

No. According to our CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), the leave accrued throughout the year and not used will be lost on the 31st of December. However, an agreement can be reached between the employee and the employer.

What are the parental leave entitlements in Spain?

Employees (and those who are adopting) are entitled to 16 weeks of paid, uninterrupted parental leave. The first 6 weeks are mandatory, consecutive, and full-time. The parent can determine how the other 10 weeks are taken: after the compulsory 6 weeks or in different periods up to 12 months from the baby's birth. For example, the 10 weeks can be taken first 2 weeks, then another period of 3 weeks, and the rest in another 5 weeks. The employee can also decide to enjoy them part-time. However, s/he must notify their employer of the percentage of hours they’ll be working (for example, 50% - 20 hours per week).

It is important to note the following:

  • In the case of multiple births, maternity leave is extended by 2 weeks for each additional child born;
  • If the child has a disability, maternity leave is extended by 2 weeks;
  • If the child dies, the employee is still entitled to the leave. The employee may return to work after 6 weeks, however, if she so chooses;
  • If the newborn is hospitalized, maternity leave is extended by the time the child remains in hospital, up to a maximum of 13 additional weeks.

The parental benefit is paid by the social security system up to a maximum amount set every year. Anything above the cap will not be paid unless the client approves the payment. Social security contributions must still be paid on all benefits. 

Under our CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), all employees with a child under 9 months old are entitled to time off for feeding, on a per child basis, provided they give 15 days advance notice on when they will return to normal working hours. Employees are entitled to any of the three options below:

  1. A supplemental paid parental leave of 15 calendar days (most common practice) to be taken right after the mandatory leave; or
  2. 1 hour of absence from work each day for feeding, which can be taken all at once or divided into two parts; or
  3. A reduction in working hours by half an hour for the same purpose.

Employees can take up to 3 years of unpaid parental leave for childcare (or up to 2 years to care for sick relatives). Employees also have the right to ask for a reduced work schedule due to having a child under the age of 12 (this request must be made in writing). In these cases, employers cannot refuse this request. Once the employee is on this reduced schedule, they are protected in cases of termination. 

What is the sick leave entitlement in Spain?

Employees are entitled to up to 18 months of sick leave. To qualify for sick leave, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • The employee must provide a declaration created by a social security doctor;
  • The employee must be registered with the social security system at the time of the illness or injury; and
  • The employee must meet the requisite number of contributions. For non-occupational injuries, the employee must have a minimum of 180 days of contributions in the 5 years immediately preceding the application for sick leave. For occupational sickness, there is no minimum contribution period.

What other types of leave are there in Spain?

Other types of leave in Spain include:

  • 15 days of paid leave for marriage;
  • 2 days of paid leave for the birth of a child;
  • 2 days of paid leave for the death, serious accident or illness, hospitalization or surgery without hospitalization requiring home rest, of relatives up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity. Please note that when the employee needs to travel for this purpose, the period shall be 4 days;
  • 4 days of paid leave in the event of the death of a spouse, parents or children, including any travel time;
  • 1 day of paid leave for moving from the usual place of residence;
  • Any necessary time for union-related tasks; and
  • Any necessary time for public obligations (such as voting).
  • Unpaid leave: Employees who have been with the company for at least 1 year shall be entitled to unpaid leave for a maximum of one month, once per year. However, alternatively, such leave may be divided into two periods of a maximum of fifteen calendar days, one in each half of the year. When the employee returns, s/he will have priority in hiring at the same or similar work category.