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Employee in Spain

If one day you wake up with the idea to come in Spain to work, you should know that this country doesn’t offer a good salary in comparison with the other european countries like Germany, UK, France, Luxemburg, Ireland, Switzerland…

So if you want to be rich… it won’t be so easy. Your motivation should be other things like culture, people, weather, spanish girlfriend or boyfriend… From my side, I came to live in Spain, precisely at Barcelona, because of the weather and because I was looking for a new adventure.

Except to learn the national language (spanish), you will need some papers to work in a national or international company.

People from the EU community, you just need the NIE number and for the others, you will need a visa - for more information, you can read my other topic new life at Barcelona.

According to the autonomous region you want to go, you may need to learn a second language. Below the regions where you may need to learn its own language.

  • in Catalonia, the catalan (original name, catalán)
  • in Valencia, the valencian (original name, valenciano)
  • in Galicia, the galician (original name, gallego)
  • in Basque Country, the basque (original name, euskera)
  • in Navarra, the basque (original name, euskera)
  • in La Vall d'Aran, the gascon (original name, aranés)

You have to work 40h a week so 8h a day and depending of your job, the lunch time can be 1h minimum and 3h maximum. The time schedule will depend a lot of the kind of jobs. For example, if you want to be:

  • a waiter/waitress (bar, restaurant) generally it is between 8h AM - 3h AM and from monday to sunday
  • a clerk (shop) generally it is between 10h AM - 21h and from monday to saturday. You may work in sunday during holiday time like Christmas.
  • an employee (office) generally it is between 9h AM - 18h and from monday to friday.

It exists different websites where you can look for a job and by doing a search, you will find them easily but the most famous ones are Monster, Infojobs and Indeed.

Normally the lunch time is at 14h but like you can guess, depending of your job, you may eat earlier and some shops, depending of the districts, are closed between 14h and 17h – 3h to lunch !!!

The minimum salary is around 650 euros a month and if you rent a flat for you alone, the minimum renting is around 600 euros a month, with a lot of luck, you can find a place for 400 euros !!! That is why majority of spanish people share a flat or they live with their parents because renting a room will cost you normally between 200€ and 400€ - if you are looking for a flat or a room, you can read new life at Barcelona. The annual salary is divided in 13 months and not in 12 months and this 13th is called “extra salary” which is not for me. The company gives it to you in december so in this month, you get 2 salaries.

The income tax is deduced directly from your salary but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to declare it each year starting from april until end of june. A lot of foreigners don’t do it because they plan to stay in Spain for some years but if you decide to stay forever, do it.

During your tax declaration, the government will calculate the balance of the income you paid last year and shares so according to this declaration, they will pay you back some money because they debited too much or you have to pay them because they debited too little. If you win less than 22000 euros annual gross, you don’t need to declare but if during this month you get bored at home for example, you can go to the tax office or connect to the official tax website (no english version) to pass the time.

About vacation, you have 5 weeks plus the national bank holidays - depending of the autonomous region, you can have more, check out this following official website (no english version) to know those days.

I almost forgot, in december, company gives you a gift - it is the tradition and normally all companies respect it. The gift is a box (big or little) containing traditional spanish foods like ham, nougat candy, a bottle of cava…

If after working during minimum 1 year, you get fired and you decide to stay few years more in this country, you have right to the unemployment for… 4 months minimum – if I am not wrong. The government will pay you during this time according to your salary and the tax you paid. You just have to go one time to declare your situation in the unemployment office (depending of your living district, you have to go to the corresponding office) and after you can renovate it through internet, to know more check out the official spanish employment website of INEM.