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Unemployment Benefits

Spain - Unemployment Benefits

Updated February 2010

Here is some information about unemployment benefits in Spain - who is entitled to them, how much are they entitled to and for how long. As you will shortly see it can become quite complex so the best advice is always to seek professional help whenever possible.

The system supports the person who is willing to work but for whatever reason cannot find work or loses their job or even, if the amount of hours of work are reduced. In order to qualify for unemployment benefit the following rules apply:

- The person in question must be registered with the Social Security.

- Must be registered with the Employment Office and be available to actively search for a job.

- Must accept an adequate job offered by the Employment Office.

- The applicant must present the application for the unemployment benefit. Further, this person must have been making Social Security payments (usually done by the employer) for a minimum of 12 months within the last six years before becoming legally unemployed, providing they are under retirement age, unless they have a specific right to it.

The benefit is applied for at the employment office (Oficina de Empleo) which deals within the jurisdiction of the home address. The documents required are as follows:

- End of contract or dismissal letter (carta de fin de contrato o despido).

- Company Certificate (Certificado de empresa).

- Last payslip (última nómina).

- Identity document such as passport or identity card.

- The application, which includes an undertaking to work if offered an adequate job, declaration of dependants and their income and authority to apply to the tax office for information in this respect. This can be obtained at the Employment Office or on the Ministerio De Trabjo website.

- Family book if a Spanish national or equivalent document if foreign.

The duration of this benefit depends on how long one has been contributing to the system. If you have been working legally and making Social Security payments between 360 days and 539 days (i.e. one and one and a half years), the benefit will last for 120 days.

If the period one has been working legally is between 1,980 and 2,159 days (five and five and a half years) the benefit will last for 660 days.

The amount one is entitled to receive depends on the gross salary received by the worker during the period of employment. The person will receive 70% of the salary during the first 180 days, and from then on, 60%.

Once the unemployment benefit has finalised, in some cases a subsidy can be applied for. These depend on the personal circumstances of the person in question, e.g. if the person has family responsibilities.

For more information in this respect, as this can be quite complex, it is advisable to go to the Employment office (Oficina de Empleo) of the area to explain the circumstances and provide the relevant documents. The duration of this subsidy will depend on the type of subsidy one can apply for, namely:

- For those who have family responsibilities the subsidy can vary between 18 and 30 months, depending on the period they receive the unemployment benefit for, age, etc.

- For those who have not paid into the system for the minimum period, the subsidy will also depend on how much they have paid into the system and for how long. If they have paid for between 90 and 119 days, they will receive it for three months; between 120 and 149 days they will receive it for four months; between 150 days and 179 days, they will receive it for five months; more than 180 days and without family responsibilities it will be for a period of 6 months, and with family responsibilities, 21 months.

- For those who are over the age of 52, it can last until they reach their retirement pension age. Generally this is 65.

- Unfortunately, for those who work without a proper contract, or on the ‘black’, none of the above is applicable.

- For those who receive an ‘official’ amount in the monthly nómina (payslip) and an adjustment in cash at the end of the month, they will only be entitled to benefit in accordance with the official amount, not the rest.

Due to the present economic climate, for those unfortunate enough to have lost their jobs a return to the workplace is far from certain and the usual period of validity of the unemployment subsidy is not sufficient.

The government is studying the possibility of increasing these benefits but at the date of writing (February 2010) no further information is available.

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