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Unemployment benefits in Spain

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Spain.

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Unemployment benefits in Spain

Post Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:45 pm

Information only Please check with your local employment office (Oficina de Empleo Employment Office website ).

I have been asked to write about the unemployment benefits in Spain, who is entitled to them, how much and for how long etc. As you will see it can become quite complex, so our advice is to seek professional help to ensure the correct procedure.

This system allows 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 this 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.

- Accept an adequate job offered by this office.

- Present the application for the unemployment benefit.

Further, this person must have been paying the Social Security (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 had a specific right to it.

This benefit is applied for at the employment office (Oficina de Empleo) which deals within the jurisdiction of the home address. The documents required to apply for this benefit 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

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

- Family book if Spanish nationals 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 making the Social Security payments between 360 days and 539 days (one and one and a half year), the benefit will past for 120 days. If the period one has been working legally is between 1,980 and 2,159 days (five and five 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, if the person has family responsibilities, depending on their age, migrant workers who have returned. 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 received the unemployment benefit and the 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 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’, not 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 will only be entitled to the benefit in accordance with the official amount, and obviously not the rest.

Due to the present economic climate, for those unfortunate enough to have lost their jobs, the return of some people to the workplace is becoming very difficult, and the usual period of validity of the unemployment subsidy is not sufficient. The government is studying the possibility of increased these benefits, but to date there is nothing that is absolutely clear on what is going to happen it at all.

This information is intended for informative purposes only and I strongly advise any member to seek professional advice prior to taking any action.

This is for your information only, please seek more advice from the "Office of Employment" (Oficina de Empleo) Employment Office website


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