Coronavirus in Spain: What state help is available for self-employed (autonomos)?

The Spanish Government has established an extraordinary provision for those who are self-employed - autonomos - in Spain.

Anyone registered with the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA).can apply if they have been affected by the enforced closure of businesses due to the state of alarm, or if their revenue for the month (since state of alarm was declared on March 14th) is less than 75 percent of their average monthly revenue over the six previous months.

What does this extraordinary provision involve?

  • Payment of an amount equivalent to 70 percent of the calculation basis.
  • Suspension of social security contributions during the validity period of the provision, and the worker will also be recorded as having paid their contributions during this period.

Who can apply?

  • Any worker who has registered as self-employed on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA), including incorporated self-employed workers, who have been affected by the enforced closure of businesses due to the declaration of a state of alarm.
  • Any worker who is registered as self-employed on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA), including incorporated self-employed workers, whose revenue for March and subsequent months during State of Alarm is less than 75 percent of their average monthly revenue over the six previous months.

Can a worker who is registered as self-employed on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA) apply if they employ workers for whom they have submitted an ERTE (temporary layoffs)?

  • Yes, both measures are compatible with each other.


What are the requirements for applying?

  • You simply need to be registered on the Spanish Special Regime for Autonomous Workers (RETA) and be up to date on your social security contributions, that is the so-called self-employed “quotas”.

Is there any minimum period of social security contributions required prior to applying?

  • No. Unlike other provisions, that is irrelevant in this case.

How long will this extraordinary provision be available for?

  • When the first state of alarm decree was declared, this provision was put in place until April 30th, but it will be extended until the last day of the month in which the state of alarm is due to end, based on the assumption that it will again be prolonged.


When can this extraordinary provision be applied for?

  • From March 18th 2020, for cases of business closure and cessation of activity.
  • From the moment that supporting documentation for a reduction in revenue has been presented, for cases where revenue is less than 75 percent of the average monthly revenue over the six previous months.


What is the deadline for applying for this extraordinary provision?


  • The deadline is moveable but currently sands as the final day of the month in which the state of alarm comes to an end.

What else should I know about the application procedure for this provision?


  • The entities that are managing this provision—the mutual insurance companies—have provided application forms on their websites that can be downloaded, as well as the relevant documentation so that the entire process can be managed online.
  • All applications should be accompanied by a sworn statement confirming that all the applicable requirements have been met.
  • Accounting paperwork should be provided to demonstrate that revenue for March 2020 has fallen by at least 75 percent compared to the average monthly revenue of the six previous months. This paperwork may be a copy of the record book for invoices sent and received, the daily record of income and expenditures, the record book for sales and income, the book of purchases and expenditures or, if the self-employed worker is not obliged to provide this accounting paperwork, any other form of evidence.
  • Contributions that correspond to 1-13 March 2020 will need to be paid, as the state of alarm had not been declared yet during that period.
  • Should the self-employed worker already have paid their contribution for the whole month of March, the Spanish Social Security Treasury General Office will automatically refund the amount corresponding to the period covered by the extraordinary provision.

More info:

Summary of the work-related measures in the Spanish Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March

Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March, on extraordinary urgent measures to deal with the economic and social impact of COVID-19

Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14 March, declaring a state of emergency to manage the health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Spain

This article has been compiled with advice from Gutierrez Pujadas & Partners,  an international firm with a boutique mindset, specializing in international taxation, family offices and holding companies.


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Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.