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Paid Time Off Entitlements in Spain

Paid time off (PTO) is one of the more variable employee benefits in foreign countries, and the amount of PTO often depends on how much labor laws favor employees.  In Spain, employee benefits are treated seriously, and may be more generous than in your home country, so it is necessary to learn the rules before hiring any employees in Spain.

If you are new to hiring in Spain, how will you know how much leave to offer, and what the rules are for accrual, expiration and payment in lieu?  This guide will give you the basics, but as always it is a good idea to rely on in country guidance to avoid any issues with Spanish employees.

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Annual Leave in Spain

Annual or holiday leave in Spain is generous, and employees are entitled to a minimum of 22 business days (30 calendar days) per year.  The leave can be divided up into more than one period, as long as one of the periods is at least two weeks.

Unlike some countries, payment in lieu cannot be made for vacation days, unless the employment contract is terminated.  Therefore, employees should take the leave as it accrues each year.

Public Holidays in Spain

In addition, there are also national, state and local public holidays which are granted as paid days off in Spain.  There are 10 national public holidays, and two to three times as many at the local and regional level, so that will depend the location of employment.

Client Case: Annual Leave Accrual and Expiration in Spain

One of our clients with employees in Spain had a question about annual leave accrual and whether unused leave could be rolled over to the following year.


We advised our client that the unused leave in the calendar year does not expire, and can be carried forward to use the next year.  However, employees are encouraged to take the annual PTO as it accrues, for both personal and business reasons.  For employers, if there is unused leave it must be paid out at termination, which is an additional expense that may not have been anticipated.

Do you need more information about Spain?

You might need more information about offering leave in Spain such as:

How does sick leave or maternity leave affect the amount of annual leave?

Can an employer offer more than the statutory leave minimum?

Are regional holidays paid the same as national holidays?

We assist our clients in addressing these types of employment issues including employee benefits, running payroll, taxation and immigration requirements.  We make international employment simple.

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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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