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Spain Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Vacation, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on February 2, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Spain

Vacation Quota (Annual Leave)

22 or 23 working days

Spanish employees are entitled to a legal minimum of 30 calendar days (which is 22 or 23 working days) of paid annual leave per year. This quota applies to full-time employees. There may be additional rights or more vacation days available to certain employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. However, most of the employers offer 25 working days or more.

Casual or temporary employees are entitled to full vacation privileges but to a proportional payment for vacation days along with their regular pay.


Workers qualify for yearly vacation benefits after a full month of employment. During their first year of employment, their vacation entitlement is prorated (proportional to the exact number of months worked). Starting in the second year, employees receive full entitlement.

The schedule of vacations is determined through a mutual agreement between an employee and an employer.

Carry Over

Carryover is not defined by Spain’s leave laws. Regulations regarding the accrual, use, and expiration date of unused vacation days are not specified, leaving these matters to the discretion of the employer.

Payout of Vacation

Substituting vacation days for payments is not permitted.

When an employment contract is terminated through mutual agreement, employees are not eligible for severance pay or unemployment benefits, unless there is a specific agreement to the contrary. If severance pay is negotiated, it is subject to taxation and contributions to social security.

Sick Leave in Spain

12 months (a full year)

Employees in Spain are entitled to a full year of paid sick leave, and it is paid from the 4th day of absence. This absence may be extended in certain cases up to 6 months, for a maximum of 18 months of leave.

Temporary disability benefits cover the employee’s loss of earnings due to:

  • common illness (non-occupational diseases) or non-work-related injuries;
  • occupational diseases or work-related injuries.

To access paid sick leave benefits, an employee needs to have contributed to national social security for at least 180 days within the previous five years. Without these contributions, employees can still take sick leave, but it will be unpaid. However, if sick days are due to an accident or occupational disease, no prior contribution period is required.

To have authorized leave, employees are required to get a doctor’s certificate from the Public Health System.

Sick leave is defined in Spain leave laws as ‘Incapacidad Temporal’, which translates to ‘temporary disability.’

Payout of Sick Leave

An employer pays sick leave first, and then social security covers it. The company typically pays sick leave at the same intervals as regular salaries. An employee may receive from 60% to 100% of an employee’s regulatory basis (base reguladora) while on sick leave, depending on the type of illness or injury and the duration of the absence.

How much money does an employee receive?

In case of a common illness or non-work-related accident:

Duration of Sick Leave Pay Rate
The first three days (0–3) Unpaid (0%); a waiting period
From the 4th until the 20th day 60% of an employee’s regulatory basis
From the 21st day and on 75% of an employee’s regulatory basis

All the rules presented above are in effect unless a particular collective agreement, employment contract, or company policy indicates an alternative method.

Who pays for sick leave?

If an employee is on sick leave because of a common illness or non-work-related accident, payers change depending on its duration in the following manner:

Duration of Sick Leave Who Pays?
The first three days (0–3) Unpaid (*)
From the 4th day until the 15th day Employer
From the 16th day and onwards A government agency -INSS (or a mutual insurance company)

(*) There is no requirement for payment unless the employer approves it, or if it is specified in the collective agreement.


Who recognizes and pays for an employee’s leave due to a temporary disability depends on the coverage option selected by the employer. It could be handled by the National Institute of Social Security (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social, INSS), the Social Marine Institute (Instituto Social de la Marina, ISM), a mutual insurance company that works with the social security system, or companies that have permission to help manage short-term disabilities.

Other Types of Sick Leave

Occupational Injury or Illness (Work Accident)

In this case, the company will be responsible for paying an employee during sick leave. An employer must pay 75 percent of an employee’s regulatory basis (base reguladora) from the first day of leave. It is important to know that social security will only pay the mandatory part by law. If the collective agreement has increased the benefit, this percentage must be covered by the employer.

2 or 4 days

Workers have the right to take 2 days of leave for accidents or severe illness, as well as for the hospitalization or non-hospitalized surgery (which necessites home recovery) of family members up to the second degree of blood or marital relation. If a worker must travel for these reasons, the leave is extended to 4 days.

Family Care Leave

Up to 2 years of unpaid leave

Employees are also entitled to up to 2 years of unpaid leave for a duration of to assist and take care of a family member up to the second degree of a blood or marital relationship. This leave is authorized when the family member is unable to care for themselves and does not work because of age, illness, accident, or disability. If a collective bargaining agreement specifies so, there may even be a possibility for an extended period of leave.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity Leave in Spain

16 weeks of fully paid leave.

Female employees in Spain are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. During this leave an employee receives her full salary.

Maternity leave extends in the following scenarios:

  • By 2 weeks, for twins or if the newborn child is disabled
  • By 4 weeks, for triplets
  • For up to 13 weeks, in case a newborn child needs hospitalization longer than 7 days.

It is required by law that a mother take six weeks straight after childbirth. This also applies to a father (or civil partner) who is on paternity leave.

Payout of Maternity Leave

The Spanish social security system covers both maternity and paternity leave, paid at 100% of the regular salary.

To be eligible for this benefit, a parent must have contributed to the government’s Institute for Social Security for at least 180 days within the previous seven years, or alternatively, 360 days throughout their entire career. This policy ensures that parents have some level of social security contribution history to qualify for paid leave.

Breastfeeding Hours

Mothers with a child under nine months can take one hour of breastfeeding leave daily, either as a full hour or split into two halves at the start and end of the workday. If both parents are working, either one can take this leave. Alternatively, the employee can choose a half-hour shorter workday or 15 days of paid leave following maternity leave.

Paternity Leave in Spain

16 weeks of fully paid leave.

An employee who becomes a father has the right to 16 weeks of fully paid paternity leave. They can choose to take this leave at the same time as the mother’s maternity leave. During this period, employees who are eligible can get financial support from the Spanish government. Same-sex couples are granted equal rights to parental benefits, allowing one partner to opt for paternity leave and the other for maternity leave.

This long entitlement makes Spain one of the countries with the best paternity leave in the world.

Payout Paternity Leave

During paternity leave, social security pays 100% of the regular salary. To be eligible for paternity benefits, an employee must have paid social security contributions for at least 180 workdays in seven years before the leave, or a total of 360 workdays throughout his professional career. The employer remains only responsible for certain taxes related to the payout of wages.

Parental Leave in Spain

There is currently no legal definition of paid parental leave. However, parents may take advantage of unpaid parental leave (excedencia sin sueldo).

Unpaid Parental Leave

Until the child is 3 years old.

Employees caring for a child under the age of 3 and with at least one year of service in the company are eligible to apply for unpaid parental leave. Any parent may take this leave, and it is valid until the child is three years old. Throughout this leave, the employment contract is put on hold, meaning there will be no wages/salaries nor employer contributions to Social Security.

Leave for a Child’s or Family Member’s Disability

As previously mentioned, an employee is entitled to 2 additional weeks of maternity leave if an employee’s biological child, an adopted child, or a foster child is born with a disability.

Additionally, certain employees are entitled to special leave if they have legal custody and must directly care for:

  • a child under 12 years old
  • a family member or person with a physical disability (such as impairments to a person’s body) or sensory disability and who does not work or engage in any paid activity.

These employees have the right to reduced working hours. This reduction can range from a minimum of one-eighth to a maximum of half of their usual workday, with a corresponding reduction in salary.

Upcoming Changes in Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leave in 2024

Extension of maternity and paternity leave and introduction of paid parental leave.

The Spanish government has announced an increase in paternity and maternity leave from 16 to 20 weeks.

Additionally, there is a revision to parental leave policies, enabling both fathers and mothers to take eight weeks of partially paid parental leave within the first eight years of their child’s life. Previously, parents had the option of these eight weeks of leave, but without pay. Under the new legislation, half of this period—four weeks—will be compensated following the law’s enactment, with Social Security covering the pay during this time.

This legislation is a top priority for the government, with plans to initiate the legislative process in January and take effect by August 1, 2024.

Bereavement Leave in Spain

At least 2 days.

Employees in Spain are entitled to at least 2 days of paid leave for bereavement and funeral attendance in case a close family member dies. This includes the death of a parent, spouse, child, or other members of the immediate family. Bereavement leave extends to 4 days if traveling is necessary.

Other Types of Paid Leave

Spain’s leave laws also define more types of paid leave for the following reasons:

  • 15 days: for marriage,
  • 1 day: moving or relocation of residence.

Furthermore, paid leave is granted for participating in trade union activities or serving as a worker’s representative, in accordance with legal stipulations or collective bargaining agreements.

Jury Duty Leave in Spain

Employees in Spain are entitled to take paid leave in order to fulfill their personal, civic, or public duties related to court. This may be jury duty, but there are also other types of court appearances. An employee is required to provide a written notice to have a valid absence.

Military Leave in Spain

Military leave is not mentioned in Spain leave law.

Voting Leave in Spain

Voting leave is also not defined by Spain leave law.

Public Holidays in Spain for 2024

Each region has its own set of holidays.

National holidays include 10 fixed public holidays which are mandatory in each state, with additional regional holidays varying by state. Each municipality has the flexibility to observe up to 14 bank holidays annually.

A complete list of national and regional holidays celebrated in Spain:

Date Holiday Autonomous Communities
January 1 New Year National
January 6 Epiphany National
February 13 Shrove Tuesday Extremadura
February 28 Andalusia Regional Holiday Andalusia
March 1 Balearic Islands Regional Holiday Balearic Islands
March 19 St Joseph’s Day Castile-La Mancha, Murcia&Valencia
March 28 Maundy Thursday National except Catalonia&Valencia
March 29 Good Friday National
April 1 Easter Monday Balearic Islands, and others
April 10 Eid al-Fitr Melilla
April 23 Aragon Regional Holiday Aragon
April 23 Castile and León Regional Holiday Castile and Leon
May 1 Worker’s Day National
May 2 Madrid Regional Holiday Madrid
May 15 San Isidro Madrid
May 17 Galician Literature Day Galicia
May 30 Corpus Christi Castile-La Mancha
May 30 Canary Islands Regional Holiday Canary Islands
May 31 Castile-La Mancha Regional Holiday Castile-La Mancha
June 9 La Rioja Regional Holiday La Rioja
June 9 Murcia Regional Holiday Murcia
Junee 13 San Antonio Ceuta
June 17 Eid al-Adha Ceuta & Melilla
June 24 St John’s Day Catalonia & Valencia
July 25 National Day of Galicia Galicia
July 25 Saint James’ Day Basque Country, Cantabria,Madrid & Navarre
August 5 Our Lady of Africa Ceuta
August 15 Assumption of Mary National
September 2 Day of Ceuta Ceuta
September 8 Extremadura Regional Holiday Extremadura
September 8 Asturias Regional Holiday Asturias
September 11 National Day of Catalonia Catalonia
September 17 Day of Melilla Melilla
October 9 Valencian Regional Holiday Valencia
October 12 Fiesta Nacional de España National
November 1 All Saints’ Day National
November 9 Virgin of Almudena Madrid
December 3 San Francisco Javier Navfarre
December 6 Constitution Day National
December 9 Immaculate Conception Holiday Andalusia, Aragon,and rest
December 25 Christmas National
December 26 St Stephen’s Day Balearic Islands& Catalonia


  1. Local Laws & Regulations, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/spain

  2. Payroll and Benefits Guide Spain, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/spain/

  3. Definitive Guide to Hiring in Spain, https://www.globalexpansion.com/countrypedia/spain

  4. Working hours, leave and holidays (An official goverment website), https://administracion.gob.es/pag_Home/en/Tu-espacio-europeo/derechos-obligaciones/ciudadanos/trabajo-jubilacion/condiciones-trabajo/jornada-permisos.html#-3eaf99875119

  5. Temporary Disability benefits, https://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/InformacionUtil/44539/44667

  6. Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration: Temporary Disability (An official goverment website), https://www.seg-social.es/wps/portal/wss/internet/PortalEducativo/Profesores/Unidad3/PESS303/PESS305?changeLanguage=en

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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