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COVID-19 RULES

How to request Covid-19 sick leave from work in each of Spain’s regions 

With Covid infections higher than ever in Spain, hundreds of thousands of workers are having to self-isolate and get their sick leave (la baja) approved by the overburdened health system. The process varies considerably between regions, here’s what you need to know. 

doctor hospital spain sick leave
Spain’s 17 regional governments have again decided to set up their own individual strategy for workers to request sick leave due to Covid-19. Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

With more than 3 percent of Spain’s population infected with Covid-19 in the past two weeks, the Omicron variant is putting increasing pressure on the country’s economy and healthcare system, as businesses struggle with worker shortages and health centres deal with the surge of infections and enquiries. 

People in Spain who test positive via an antigen test have to self isolate for seven days, which in most cases involves taking time off work to recover even if work can be done online. 

This involves getting la baja approved, sick leave officially certified by a doctor, which inevitably has meant health centres are on overload due to the burden of calls, admissions and paperwork.

As a result, Spain’s 17 regional governments have again decided to set up their own individual strategy or modus operandi to better handle this sixth wave and to lessen the load for their health workers wherever possible.  

If you’ve tested positive for Covid-19 via an antigen test or have coronavirus symptoms, here is how you should officially request your employee sick leave from your health centre in your part of Spain. 

Andalusia

Andalusia residents can inform their public health system that they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 from an antigen test purchased in pharmacies or if they have symptoms compatible with Covid-19. 

Once the case is studied and a PCR test is potentially requested, people in the region can request their Covid sick leave – la baja – through the Salud Responde app and later check the status on the ClicSalud + website.

Aragón

Aragonese authorities have set up a phone line (876 503 741) and an online questionnaire for people who have tested positive via antigen test to register their infection.

In both cases, you will be asked about symptoms, your vaccination status and if you require sick leave. 

This information is all automatically sent to patients’ GPs. 

Asturias

Asturian health authorities only consider positive antigen tests carried out in pharmacies or health centres to be valid to get sick leave due to Covid-19. Personnel from Asturias’s SESPA health system will call you to handle your sick leave. 

Balearic Islands

Requesting sick leave due to Covid-19 is currently done over the phone in the Balearics, although local authorities are looking to set up an online system soon. 

Basque Country

To book time off work due to Covid-19, there are two online processes to complete in the Basque Country: informing health authorities of your positive antigen result and getting sick leave approval

Canary Islands

If you test positive for Covid-19 or you suspect you have it and need to book off time from work you should call 900112061, and Canary health services will guide you through the entire process of quarantine, tests and sick leave.

Cantabria 

If you inform Cantabrian health authorities that you’ve tested positive via antigen test, they will classify you as a suspected case and require you to undergo a PCR test to confirm this result before you can request sick leave. They will either call or text to confirm your appointment and diagnosis.

Castilla-La Mancha

If you live and work in Castilla-La Mancha and you test positive via antigen test you should contact your health centre by calling call or through the regional health services’s app or website to confirm with another test.

If the positive result is confirmed, primary care workers will manage your sick leave online.

Castilla y León 

If you have Covid symptoms or test positive via antigen test you should call your health centre and select option 0, reserved for Covid information, or contact 112 if it is an emergency due to the onset of serious symptoms. 

They will guide and inform you of the process to follow if more tests or sick leave are necessary.

Catalonia

People in Catalonia who test positive via antigen test can request their sick leave on the regional health website here

Once they’ve provided personal and test details, they will automatically be given seven days off from work to be spent in home isolation, and once a week has passed their sick leave will automatically end unless they have persisting symptoms. 

Extremadura

Suspected or confirmed cases in the western region must call their local centre. Sick leave will be approved if a health professional validates the positive test result. 

Galicia

If you have Covid symptoms or a positive antigen tes result in Galicia you must call the Covid information  number (881 540 045), or fill in the “self-declaration of suspicious case” form or make an appointment for a medical consultation over the phone with your primary care doctor.

You have to self-isolate and health workers will call you twice during this isolation period, first to assess your clinical situation and approve your sick leave, and second to let you know if your quarantine should last 7 or 10 days. Call 061 if you have serious Covid symptoms.

La Rioja 

In La Rioja, you can notify the results of the antigen tests through your local pharmacy or an online form they can direct you to. 

During the period of isolation, Riojan health services will call you to handle your sick leave. If you need to get in touch with them, call 941 29 83 33.

Madrid 

Madrid authorities have set up a phone line (900 102 112) for people to both notify the result of a positive self-test and to request sick leave.

For confirmed cases, ten days of self-isolation are recommended, without visits and only leaving the house for essential reasons.

Murcia 

Workers in Murcia who test positive via self-test have to confirm their result at their health centre, for which they must book an appointment. 

While the patient is in isolation, Murcian health services will get in touch to assess the diagnosis and handle their sick leave, which is automatically seven days. 

Navarre

If you test positive via self-test, you should email your result to [email protected]arra.es. If on the other hand you get the antigen test done by a pharmacist at the pharmacy, they will notify health authorities.

Local health services will then send you an SMS with the guidelines to follow and your health centre will call you to follow up and manage your sick leave.

Valencia region 

Valencian regional authorities set up an app dedicated to handling positive cases, which you can view here. Residents in the region can make an appointment if they have Covid symptoms or report the positive result of an antigen test.  

Your local health centre will call you in the following 24 hours and GPs will process your sick leave.

If you get tested at a public health centre and you get a positive result, they will automatically process your leave with Spain’s Social Security system, which will inform your company. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

FACT CHECK: Do you still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

There has been some confusion in the Spanish and English-language press following the announcement this week that Spain has scrapped its Covid health travel form. Here’s what Brits, Americans and other international travellers need to know about Spain’s existing travel restrictions. 

FACT CHECK: Do you still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

(Scroll down to the bottom if you want the quick answer).

In recent days, Spanish authorities have made two important announcements regarding the country’s Covid-19 entry rules for foreigners. 

Firstly, Spain extended until November 15th the requirement that non-EU visitors must show a Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery certificate to enter the country. 

A few days later, the Spanish government announced it would no longer require any international travellers to fill in and show its SpTH health control form.

For those who are unfamiliar with Spain’s complex Covid travel rules, the two changes seemed to contradict each other, or suggest that Spain had U-turned on its decision. 

Indeed, UK newspapers such as The Independent wrongly ran with “Spain finally drops all Covid travel restrictions”, a headline it has since amended. 

Even Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE stated that Spain had ditched the Covid passport requirement.

Both these statements are incorrect.

To clarify, a Covid-19 certificate or passport is one document, and Spain’s health control form is another; they are not the same. 

A Covid-19 certificate is issued by authorities in the country where you were vaccinated or tested, whereas the SpTH form was issued by Spanish authorities.

In any case, the SpTH health control form is now officially not required and will not have to be completed by any international traveller arriving in Spain by air or sea.

The discontinuation of this travel form means that non-EU tourists such as Americans, Australians and Canadians and all other non-EU travellers no longer have to complete this step before arrival in Spain.

For British tourists visiting Spain nothing changes in this regard as the UK has long been on the list of 48 non-EU countries with a certificate equivalency deal with the EU, which exempted their nationals from having to fill in Spain’s health control form. 

Now for the other important matter. 

Non-EU tourists visiting Spain still need to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery to visit Spain. 

It applies to all non-EU travellers over the age of 12, but it does not apply to EU citizens or third-country nationals who reside in the EU.

This long-standing Covid travel rule remains in place until at least November 15th 2022.

There was no U-turn in this regard as there is no mention of the Covid-19 passport or certificate being ditched in the Spanish state bulletin (BOE) that focused on the cancellation of the SpTH form. 

Therefore, non-EU tourists such as Britons, Americans, Australians, Canadians or New Zealanders still have to show one of three documents to be able to enter Spain. These are: 

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate –  Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • A negative Covid-19 test – This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior of departure or an antigen test, taken within 24 hours prior of departure. 
  • A recovery certificate –  This must be dated within the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status.

Face masks are also still required on planes which are bound for Spain, but you don’t have to wear one at the airport.

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