Why working overtime in Spain isn’t worth it

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
Why working overtime in Spain isn’t worth it
Photo: Overworked employee/Depositphotos"

A new employment study shows that putting in extra hours at work in Spain doesn’t necessarily mean extra money.


Almost 60 percent of workers in Spain don’t receive any financial remuneration for working extra hours, a study by recruitment agency Adecco has found. 

Up to 46.4 percent of people surveyed said they received no other form of compensation and 13 percent added that they only get breaks by working extra hours.

These disheartening stats may explain why only 39 percent of Spaniards work more hours than those agreed to previously, even though there’s an unwritten and outdated rule for many Spanish bosses that the employees who stay the longest behind their desks are the hardest working.

Spain’s Worker Regulations state that extra work hours are voluntary except in the case of an emergency at work such as an accident or crisis.

However, many Spanish employees feel they daren't oppose overtime through fear that they’ll be fired.

Spain's labour laws also make it obligatory to reimburse any employee who's worked overtime with at least the same hourly pay of regular work hours or with time off.

The legal annual limit for extra hours in Spain is 80.

Just over half of all Spanish people surveyed also felt that their work was below their level of qualifications and training.

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Perhaps the most surprising finding of the study - and one that contradicts the overall negativity surrounding worker morale in Spain- is the 66.7 percent of people who claimed they were happy with their jobs.

It seems that Spaniards, aware that dream jobs are few and far between since the financial crisis kicked in, are content at least with having some form of work.

The country’s unemployment rate dropped by 7.8 percent in 2017, January 2018 figures show, but lower salaries and longer hours have become the norm for many employers, facilitated by the ruling Popular Party’s 2012 labour reform.

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According to Adecco, 41 percent of Spaniards are actively looking for another job, even though 83 percent thinks it's just as hard if not harder now to find good work opportunities as during the country’s financial crisis.

Spain’s highest unemployment rate was 26.94 percent, recorded in the first quarter of 2013. It currently stands at 16.5 percent.

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