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Employment Contracts in Spain

While a contract may exist in either oral or written form the latter is preferable so that the specific terms upon which an employee is to be contracted can be specified. If the contract remains in oral form only Spanish law will impute a full time permanent contract of 40 hours per week.

As in other jurisdictions the more obvious provisos exist such as not being able to contract to do something illegal or that a contract is invalid should it be signed under threats or duress.

Only those persons over the age of 16 may sign an employment contract. Even then there are restrictions such that a person under the age of 18 must have the consent of their guardian and may not work for more than three hours after 10pm.

For an employment contract to be valid it must contain the following elements:

  • The identity of both parties to the contract.
  • Company address.
  • Type of Contract - Indefinite, Temporary etc.
  • Length of any trial period.
  • Start date of contract.
  • Duration of contract if temporary.
  • Length of holidays (a minimum prescribed by law).
  • The schedule or rota the employee must follow.
  • Basic Salary, Additional Payments and frequency of payment.
  • The notice period for both parties.
  • Professional Category of the Employee.
  • The ‘Convenio’ which applies to the employment.
  • Both parties must sign the contract.

Whichever model or format is chosen in order for the contract to be formalised it must be communicated to the Public Service for Employment.

Trial Period

Spanish employment law allows for a period of time in which any contract may be rescinded for whatever reason but sets a time limit – 6 months for technical or where a qualification is required and 2 months otherwise. During the trial period the employee has the same rights as any other employee.

The three most popular forms of contract are Indefinite, Part Time and Works Contracts

Indefinite Contracts – Contratos Indefinidos

Most full-time employees tend to have a Contrato Indefinido.

As per the title these types of contract are indefinite in duration and last until one or other of the two parties decides to end it by giving notice. Once the contract has been in existence for one year, the period of notice shall be imputed by law to be 15 days.

Upon termination of the contract by the employer, and depending on the circumstances, the employee may be entitled to an indemnity which is given a value of numbers of days per year worked.

Works Contracts - Contrato por obra o servicio determinado

This type of contract tend to be used where it is necessary to contract a person to carry out a specific task that will be limited in time though the end date may not be specified.

The contract may be full or part-time but is time limited to three years.

If once the task specified in the contract is completed the employee continues to work, then the contract may be imputed by law to an indefinite contract, in absence of evidence to the contrary.

Upon completion of the contract, the worker is entitled to 8 days per year pay as indemnity.

Part Time Contracts

Part time contracts must specify the number of hours to be worked per day, week, month or year whichever is the most suitable for the purpose. It is also imperative to state the days that should be worked. If this information is not stated, then there is the possibility to impute a full-time contract in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

If the employee is required to work more hours than stipulated in the contract these are considered to be ‘Complementary’ hours and should be reimbursed at the same rate, per hour, as for the hours stipulated in the contract.

The number of hours may not exceed 77% of a full-time contract as established by the relevant Convenio.

A part time employee may not work what are known as extraordinary hours – ‘horas extraordinarias’. These are defined as those that exceed 8 hours daily.

This type of contract may be downloaded here: Employment Contracts Download.