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

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.

Child with Covid-19
What are my working rights if my child catches Covid-19? Photo: RachelBostwick / Pixabay

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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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.


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?