Working in Spain


The Spanish workplace and job market are changing rapidly. Women are now an integral part of the workforce and the number of immigrants seeking work is rising almost exponentially on a daily basis!

What hasn’t changed is the number of employers looking for staff to employ without a contract and at hourly rates under the legal minimum! Be warned!

Before you take up employment you will need to obtain your NIE/NIF number which acts as tax number as well as your resident’s number (when you apply for that).

Forms and details of the NIE/NIF can be obtained from the local Police Station or your “gestor” if you need more help.

If you have found a job that offers you a contract you may be offered a permanent contract (fijo) or more likely a contract for a fixed period-6 months for example.

With a permanent contract you obviously have more legal rights if anything goes wrong! Both contract types involve an obligation to pay your social security and tax deductions, normally monthly.

The social security payments entitle you to use the Spanish health service and after 6 months to unemployment and other benefits.  They also contribute towards your pension status.

If you decide to become self-employed you will need to register as an “autonomo” either at your local Oficina De Empleo or get your gestor to do it for you.

On a quarterly basis you will be obliged to make a tax declaration with all your incomings and outgoings for the period and of course details of IVA (VAT) payments!

Monthly social security payments for self employed people run at about 220 euros a month and you are entitled to almost the same benefits as someone working for an employer (ajena).

Annually between April and June all legal workers have to make their “Declaration de la Renta” tax return!

At this point you can claim for children, pension schemes, rates, rent, mortgages etc and you also have to declare all other incomes –bank interest and house rental income for example.

The Renta is all very computerised now and it is not a difficult procedure, you can do it yourself online, or go to your gestor or most banks offer a Renta service.

The outcome of the Renta can be positive or negative i.e. you need to pay more or you will get some back!

If the fortunate latter is the case the money is transferred to your bank account really rapidly!

Large Spanish computer systems seem to work quite well!

If you acquire a job without contract it is most likely to be within the catering sector, in a bar, beach bar (chiringuito) or possibly in a call centre.

Wages are often low. If you are working for yourself you clearly have more control but watch out you are not as invisible as you think!

Jobs available for the non specialist worker range from the summer bar work and the call centres to the rapidly growing on-line gaming sector in Gibraltar. Cleaning and domestic services always seem to be in demand too.


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