Social security Benefits for workers in Spain

Social security Benefits for workers in Spain

If you are registered with the social security office in Spain you are entitled to the same benefits as a Spanish national.


In order to be entitled to sickness benefit in Spain you must be registered with the social security office.

A worker will not receive any payment for the initial 3 days of a common illness, after this time has elapsed then the employer is responsible for payment up to the 15th day of sickness. After that payments are the responsibility of social security; unless, however, it is a work induced illness whereby it would be the employer that must compensate for earnings lost.

Any attempt by an employer to terminate a contract during a period of valid illness will be considered unfair dismissal and the employee will be entitled to payment equivalent to 45 days for every year worked.

Maternity/Paternity leave

Paid statutory maternity leave is 16 weeks, 6 of which must be taken after the birth. Mothers can also choose to take one year of unpaid maternity leave after their child is born.

Paid paternity leave is 15 days, 2 of which include the day of birth and the following day. The remaining 13 days can be taken at any point during the 16 weeks of maternity leave.


There are two types of state pension in Spain; contributory and noncontributory.

Contributory pensions in Spain are the second highest in Europe, on average they are the equivalent of 81% of the retiree’s final salary. The average payment received from a contributory pension in Spain is €906 a month.

Noncontributory pensions are reserved for low income households and the disabled. They amount to 14 payments of €357.70 every year.

The retirement age in Spain currently stands at 65 but is set to increase to 67 by 2027.  During employment, employees contribute 4.7% of their salary to their pension fund, whereas employers must pay in the equivalent of 23.6% of the employee’s salary.

Unemployment benefit

As with pensions in Spain, there are two categories of unemployment benefit; contributory and noncontributory.

With contributory unemployment benefit, both the employer and employee contribute to a contingency fund. Should you need to claim unemployment benefit, the amount you receive is based on how long you have been contributing and your previous average wage. In order to qualify for contributory unemployment benefit you must have contributed for at least 360 days over the previous 6 years. You are also required to register with the employment office as available to work.

Noncontributory unemployment benefit, on the other hand, is means-tested and only applicable to those who are not entitled to contributory benefits; whether that be due to an extended period of time out of work or a lack of contributions.