What are my work rights in Spain if my child gets Covid-19 or has to isolate?

Child with Covid-19
What are my working rights if my child catches Covid-19? Photo: RachelBostwick / Pixabay
What can you do as a parent when your child has to stay home because they have Covid symptoms or they have to isolate? Do you have the right to take a leave of absence from work, known as a ‘baja’? Here's everything you need to know.

With the omicron wave in full swing now after the Christmas period, many more people are getting infected with Covid-19 due to its infectiousness and there are record-breaking numbers in Spain.

With the return to school after the holidays, Omicron is expected to hit classrooms hard, especially in kindergarten and primary school. According to the latest stats, many more children are catching the virus than in previous waves.

Parents are confused with many taking to social media to ask what rights they have and what they can do if they’re not able to work and have to take care of their kids.

Many have complained that schools are telling them one thing, their work is telling them something else and the local health authorities are giving them different information still.

Do I have the right to a leave of absence from work?  

According to the latest update of the Strategy of Spain’s Ministry of Health, anyone who is in close contact with a positive, is vaccinated and has no symptoms should not be confined and therefore is not entitled to a leave of absence from work.

If you are not vaccinated, you have to undergo a seven-day isolation period.

This means that if you are vaccinated and are showing no symptoms, but your child is ill with Covid-19, you don’t have the right to take any time off work to look after them. 

If you are able to work from home, this may make the situation somewhat easier, but again, it’s hard to concentrate on work and participate in online meetings when you have a sick child at home. 

There have been reports that some local health practitioners are in fact granting ‘bajas’ because they understand the difficult situation, even though they’re technically not supposed to. 

Will my child have to isolate if other kids in their class test positive for Covid-19?

The new rules stated by the health authorities on December 22nd are that kids in kindergarten and primary school (under 12 years) will not be required to quarantine if they have been in contact with another child that has tested positive for coronavirus.

They will only do so if five positive cases are detected in the same classroom or more than 20 percent of the students in the same group have Covid-19.

The government estimates that 70 percent of children between ages five and 12 will have at least one dose of the Covid vaccine by early February.  For those in secondary school or over the age of 12, the rules remain the same – all those close contacts of the student who tested positive will have to stay home and isolate, unless they have been vaccinated or have had Covid-19 in the last six months.

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