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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]. 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

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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