All about notice periods in Spain

All about notice periods in Spain

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated November 7, 2022

Work abroad in Spain isn’t hard to come by for bilingual UK citizens. For beginner Spanish speakers, working in Spain means the chance to practice your Spanish on a daily basis and have total immersion, which is the best way to learn Spanish. For those Brits who get a job in Barcelona or a job in Madrid with UK companies in Spain, it’s smart to learn the Spanish work laws. We’ve talked about holiday pay and sick pay laws in Spain before. Today we are learning all about notice periods in Spain. 

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Notice periods in Spain

For UK citizens that work in Spain, notice periods are governed by the Statue of Workers’ Rights; Royal Decree law 10/2010 filed under European Union law. Here are the different types of notice you should know about.

  • holiday notice
  • maternity/paternity notice
  • termination of employment in Spain 

 FAQ about notice periods in Spain

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about notice periods in Spain and employment rights in the workplace. Double-check this information with your employer.

Are there rules for holiday notice in Spain?

Spanish (EU) law says one holiday period must be at least two weeks long. This time is often compulsory during winter holidays. The rest can be divided up, and the notice period is left up to each employer.

Are there rules for maternity notice in Spain?

Paternity leave and maternity leave in Spain are unique employment rights after giving birth in Spain. Parents are entitled to at least 16 weeks of 100% paid leave, sometimes more. Regardless of the amount of time you take for leave, you must give two weeks’ notice before you go and two weeks’ notice before your expected return to work. You are not required to finalize your date of return before taking leave. You are free to negotiate directly with your employer or HR while on leave.

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What is the notice period for termination of labor contracts in Spain?

Termination of labor contracts in Spain must be carried out in writing to both the affected workers and their representative bodies (HR, union, etc.) in the company.

Termination by the employer: For termination due to disciplinary issues, no notice is required. During a contractual trial or probationary period, no notice or severance payment is required. For termination due to economic redundancy or other reasons, employers are required to give 15 days’ notice. 

Termination by the employee: For senior management, indefinite contracts, and those of 5 years or more, Spain requires a minimum of 3 months and up to a maximum of 6 months notice. Senior management is entitled to further remuneration. In most cases, a standard period of 15 days applies, originating from the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The notice of termination period obligation for employees on shorter contracts should be explicitly outlined in the employment contract, especially if extended beyond 15 days.

What are the consequences of an insufficient notice period?

In cases when a Spanish employer gives less than 15 days notice of termination, the employee is entitled to 6 paid hours per week. This time is considered a buffer period to look for new employment.

If the employee fails to give sufficient notice for terminating employment, employers in Spain can claim compensation for harm or loss. Check your contract for specifics. At most, employers in Spain have the right to deduct payment from employees equal to the prorated salary amount for which the notice period was too short. 

Useful vocabulary for notice periods in Spain

To talk to your boss, union, or human resources (HR) representative about work-related notice periods in Spain, here is some useful vocabulary.

  • aviso/preaviso/anuncio/notificación – notice
  • comunicado – the communication document
  • escrito – written
  • notificación de finalización –  notice of termination
  • rescisión/cese/terminación – cease or terminate
  • el sueldo – salary (typically EUR/month in Spain)
  • acuerdo mutuo – mutual agreement
  • permisos retrubuidos/pagados – paid leave
  • surtir – to take affect

Learn Spanish for work

You can best negotiate your contract and notice period in Spain by learning Spanish. This way you will be able to communicate clearly with your employer and HR officers. English companies in Spain often have Spanish-speaking staff, so knowing survival workplace Spanish is the best option. Prepare to work abroad in Spain by practicing Spanish workplace situations.

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Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Czech and Turkish. Her tech copywriting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.

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