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LIFE IN SPAIN

What are the types of work contracts in Spain and which one is the best?

We take look at some of the most common types of work contracts you may be offered in Spain, analyse some of the benefits and negatives and find out which is the best and which is the worst.

What are the types of work contracts in Spain and which one is the best?
Types of contracts in Spain. Photo: ymane jdidi / Pixabay

The Spanish government states that there are four main types of work contracts in Spain. These include permanent, temporary, training, and work experience. 

However, there are various categories within these contracts, such as indefinite, fixed-term, training, working experience, remote working, and part-time contracts.

Here we’ll look at some of the most common types of work contracts in Spain. 

Permanent contracts

If you’re looking for job security and benefits, then permanent or indefinite contracts are definitely the best you can be offered in Spain.

Legal permanent contracts can be either in writing or verbal, and if there is no written contract to state that the contract is temporary or part-time, then it can be considered permanent.

For permanent contracts, the Spanish government states there are usually specific trial periods built-in. These trial periods are six months for college graduates (except at companies with fewer than 25 employees, then this cannot exceed three months) and two months for all other employees.

With permanent contracts, you will also be entitled to severance pay for improper dismissal.

Your employer will also pay your full social security contributions so that you will be entitled to public health care and other social benefits.

Temporary contracts

In June of this year, Spain’s Labour Ministry has presented a draft proposal to the unions and business associations which aims to give temporary workers better working rights and job stability. The standout feature of the draft bill proposed that the maximum new length of temporary contracts be six months or one year at the most, before changing to an indefinite contract. 

This is to stop employers from giving employees several temporary contracts and avoid giving them a permanent contract. 

READ ALSO – Fixed contract after six months: How Spain plans to solve job instability for its temporary workers 

Also referred to as fixed-term contracts, temporary contracts in Spain must be made in writing and must specify a reason as to why it’s temporary, otherwise, it will be deemed to be an indefinite contract in the eyes of the law. If the temporary contract is for a period greater than one year, the employer or the employee, whoever decides to terminate the contract, must give 15 days’ notice in advance.

They may be either full or part-time and social security contributions will also be deducted for the length of the contract. 

Temporary contracts are good if you are working on specific projects, but they don’t offer as much security as permanent or part-time contracts. Things are improving though after the draft bill was proposed earlier this year. 

Find out about the different types of work contracts in Spain. Photo: Free-Photos / Pixabay

Part-time contracts

Other than permanent contracts, part-time contracts are one of the best types of contracts you can get in Spain with the best security. This is because, according to the Spanish government, part-time workers enjoy the same rights as full-time workers.

Part-time contracts in Spain are defined as performing similar or identical jobs to permanent workers, just for a set number of days or period of time during the working week.

Workers on part-time contracts by law are not allowed to work overtime, unless in an emergency or under exceptional circumstances. They are however allowed to work supplementary hours, agreed upon in advance, which cannot exceed 30 percent of their normal working hours (except where they are increased up to 60 percent in a collective labor agreement).

Usually, with part-time contracts, a proportional amount of social security will be paid by your employer. 

Remote working contracts

Royal Decree-Law 28/2020 defines regular remote work where, within a reference period of three months, as something which takes up at least 30 percent of the working day or the equivalent proportional percentage depending on the duration of the employment contract.

Remote working contracts must be in writing, but can be reversed by either the employer or employee. 

Some of the things that remote working contracts should include, but don’t always, are: 

  • Equipment and tools provided
  • Expenses that remote working may cause, as well as monetary compensation
  • Work hours and availability period
  • Designated remote working place
  • Length of the remote working agreement

If your remote job is full-time, then it should offer the same benefits and conditions as a permanent contract, so is a good option for those wanting to continue to work from home. 

Remote working contracts are being more common since the pandemic hit. According to the latest study by human resource company Adecco, from May 2020 to April 2021, the number of jobs advertised online in Spain which included the option of remote working increased by 214 percent. 

READ ALSO: Remote working: the jobs in Spain you’ll be able to do from home after the pandemic

Training and work experience contracts

Training and work experience contracts are reserved for the hiring of university graduates or workers with higher or advanced vocational training qualifications, as well as young people who lack occupational qualifications. 

Work experience contracts can be carried out for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years, while trainee or apprenticeship contracts are for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years. The latter is aimed at those between ages 16 and 25. 

These types of contracts often offer lower salaries than normal, however still sometimes ask for quite a bit of experience, which can be unfair. 

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LIFE IN SPAIN

How to lodge a formal complaint in Spain: Hoja de reclamación

If you’ve experienced bad service in Spain that didn’t meet expectations or bought a product that didn’t do what it promised to, then you may want to fill out an official complaint form in a bid to get your money back. Here’s how to go about it.

How to lodge a formal complaint in Spain: Hoja de reclamación

At some point or another everyone has probably experienced poor service and demanded to be reimbursed, whether it was because a bus had a broken air-con in 40C heat and was two hours delayed or you bought a product from a store that broke a month later. 

The first step is obviously to try and contact the company and sort out the issue amicably, but if this method isn’t producing any fruitful results, you may want to fill out an hoja de reclamación. 

This essentially translates as a ‘claim sheet’ and is an official complaint form you can lodge against a company to try and get reimbursed for your purchase.

READ ALSO: What to be aware of before opening a shared bank account in Spain

According to the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) there are three reasons that a complaint form of this kind can help. It can:

  • Let the Consumer Administration know about your case, so they can investigate it.
  • Try and get the company to reach an agreement with you.
  • Sanction the company if it has breached any of its obligations.

What are the advantages of filling out an official complaint form?

Sometimes, just the threat of filling out an official complaint form is enough for the company to give in or propose an acceptable agreement.

Companies obviously don’t want to have lots of negative reviews and have complaints filed against them, so by filling one out, you are actually helping them improve their customer service. 

If the company still won’t do anything after you’ve submitted the form and later you go to settle the matter in court, having filled out the form will be proof that you tried to find a solution first.

Can you use this type of form for all companies?

The OCU explains that there are companies in some sectors that you shouldn’t fill out an hoja de reclamación for in the first place. Instead, you must contact the customer service department of the company itself.

This is true for banks, insurance providers, investment companies, telecommunications services, transportation companies, airlines and energy companies.

“If they do not respond in a month or respond but do not provide a satisfactory solution, then you should go down the specific dispute route that their company proposes,” the OCU states.

How do I fill out this type of complaint form?

If you are dealing with a business or service provider that does not have a specific claim channel such as a bar, store, supermarket or hotel, you can ask directly for the claim form.

The form has three copies – one for you, another for the administration and another that you must deliver to the establishment itself. 

Make sure to make photocopies of any supporting documents that serve as evidence such as contracts, tickets, invoices, guarantees, advertisements or photos.

Once completed, you must give your forms and evidence to the Municipal Consumer Information Office (OMIC) or by mail or by electronic means to the General Directorate of Consumption of your region.

Each region will have its own forms you need to complete. If you don’t ask for them from the business itself, you can find them online. The one for Catalonia can be found here, for Valencia here, for Andalusia here, and for Madrid here. For other regions, you can simply type into an internet search engine: hojas de reclamaciones + your region.

Once completed, your case will be studied and you may be presented with a resolution. If it is not successful but the administration finds that the company has breached any consumer regulations, it will open a case starting a disciplinary procedure that usually ends in a fine.

Remember that, it is not guaranteed that you will get compensation, even if the company ends up being fined.

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