Q: How long do you have to have been working in Spain to qualify for maternity leave and pay?
A: Spain has one of the most accommodating maternity structures in the whole of Europe. Maternity leave is 16 weeks with full pay for the first child and 2 extra weeks for each subsequent child and for babies born with disabilities. The full pay has a ceiling of €3,597 a month in 2014 and is financed by social security contributions from employers and employees.
You are entitled to take up to 10 of these weeks prior to the birth as many spanish mothers return to work very soon after giving birth but 6 of the weeks must be taken after birth. Additionally the mother can share out the 10 extra weeks with the father if he complies with the contribution requirements. Paternity leave is 15 days rising to 30 days in 2015!
To qualify for statutory maternity leave the mother must be a resident with a valid permit and registered with the social security office. Additionally she must have made at least 180 days worth of contributions within the 7 years prior to the birth of the first child if she is over 26. Mothers 21-26 years old must have made 90 days worth of contributions and mothers under 21 do not need to have made any contributions.
Employed women who don’t meet the eligibility requirements are still entitled to a flat rate benefit of €532.51 per month of €17.75 per day during 42 days after delivery or 52 days for lone mothers.
You also have the right to take a whole year of unpaid maternity leave after the paid leave is up and the company must retain the mothers position in the company. You have a right to take up to three years unpaid leave but the company only needs to keep a job in the same category not necessarily the same position.