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FAMILY

EXPLAINED: How to apply for parental leave in Spain

If you're about to become a parent in Spain, things have got easier with new legislation making men and women equal when it comes to parental leave. But who is eligible and how can you apply? We've put together a step by step guide.

EXPLAINED: How to apply for parental leave in Spain
In 2021, Spain extended paternity leave to 16 weeks making it equal to maternity leave. Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

Who is eligible?

As long as you have correctly paid your social security contributions (for a minimum of 180 working days within the past seven years or 360 in your entire professional life), 100 per cent of your salary will be covered.

The money comes from the Spanish government, not your employer, though employers are liable for certain taxes that pertain to the salary, such as withholding.

Freelance workers or autónomos can also apply for 16 week’s parental leave from the government. The amount they receive is calculated based on how much you regularly pay into the social security system under the autónomo system.

Same-sex couples and adoptive parents

In same-sex couples, both parents are entitled to paid leave. However, one will have to apply for maternity benefits and the other for paternity (or ‘other parent’) benefits.

In order to qualify for paid paternity or maternity leave, each parent must have a legal link with the child. This means that paid leave will only be granted if you are a biological parent, or if you have legally adopted the child. Being married to the biological or adoptive parent of a child is not enough to qualify for paid leave.

In the case of adoptive parents, both parents are elegible for the same 16 weeks if the child is under six years old. If the child is older, both adoptive parents are elegible for the remaining optional 10 weeks that a biological parent would have after the first compulsory six weeks after birth.

How long can can I take for parental leave?

Spain became a world leader when it comes to equality between both parents in Europe last year, with a law increasing paternity leave to 16 weeks – the same amount previously only reserved for new mothers.

Under this new law, which came into effect on 1 January 2021, maternity and paternity are equal and non-transferable. This means that if one parent decides not to take the time off, their partner can’t take those weeks in their place.

The first six weeks must be taken immediately and consecutively after the child’s birth, whereas the other 10 weeks can be taken non-consecutively during the first 12 months of the baby’s life.

Where do I apply?

Since April 2019, maternity and paternity leave have been brought together under an umbrella term known as prestación por nacimiento y cuidado del menor or parental leave.

Online

You can apply for parental leave online through your social security portal, either with your digital certificate or with your username and password with [email protected] (a digital signature system). To help with the process, you can use the social security portal’s virtual assistant, and if you need help with the [email protected] system, read this article.

You can also access it through the social security’s digital platform. Once you’ve logged in, all you have to do is fill in the details and upload the required paperwork. The portal will also allow you to estimate the amount of money you will receive, and the length of the parental leave according to the expected date of birth.

However, if you don’t have login details for [email protected], you can still do your application online through the social security website.

By post

If you would rather send the physical documents in the post, this is still possible. You can download, fill out the application and send it to your the branch of INSS (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social). You can search for the address and phone number here.

In person

Finally, you can also go to your local Social Security Information and Attention Centre (CAISS) by prior appointment and fill out an application form there.

Which documents do I need to include?

In any case, you will have to provide the necessary paperwork. These include:

  • The application form, which you can find here. Here’s a PDF version.
  • ID of the parents (DNI, passport or NIE)
  • If you’re an employee, a certificate from your employer with the start date of the parental leave. This won’t be necessary if it has already been submitted by your employer.
  • A maternity form from your doctor
  • Your libro de familia: The marriage and baby booklet in which all births are recorded is in the process of going digital, but phasing out this century-old document will take time. For now, the Ministry of Justice has said it will continue issuing paper copies.

Other documents may be necessary depending on the circumstances. In case of adoption, you will need to include the required judicial documents establishing the adoption or granting foster care. If prior travel to the country of origin of the adopted child is necessary, you will also need documentation issued by the competent body of your autonomous community.

Who is eligible for extra leave?

Leave can be extended by one week per child in case of a multiple birth, and an extra week can also be applied for if the baby is born with a disability or health problems.

If the baby is premature or has to be hospitalised for longer than seven days, leave can be extended for up to an additional 13 weeks.

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For members

SCHOOLS

Is bullying a problem in Spanish schools?

Bullying is a problem that affects young people in schools across the world, but it can be particularly difficult to deal with when you’re in a different country from your own. But how much of a problem is bullying in schools in Spain?

Is bullying a problem in Spanish schools?

Students in Spain are back in school after a long summer, but this has also meant a return in the number of cases of bullying. Around one in four students in Spain (24 percent) said that bullying occurs in their class, according to a recent report by the ANAR Foundation and Mutua Madrileña.

The annual bullying report collected the opinions of 5,123 students and 229 teachers. 

During the course of the pandemic, with many students either attending class online or in smaller groups, this number dropped to 15 percent.

Although it has risen this year, there are still fewer cases of bullying than in 2019, when just over 34 percent or one in three students noticed that there was a victim of bullying in their classroom.

Insults, name-calling or teasing are the most common forms of bullying at schools in Spain.

The number of cases involving physical aggression fell from 38 percent in 2020-21 to 31.8 percent in the most recent study.   

Among the main reasons for bullying according to the report are the physical appearance of the victim (56.5 percent) and the things they say or do (53.6 percent).  

The study also highlighted that in 72.6 percent of cases, bullying is carried out in a group, an increase that has been recorded in recent years. It was only 43.7 percent in 2018 and 2019. 

Cyberbullying

But it’s not just bullying in schools that has become a problem, cyberbullying or bullying online is also an issue.  

“Cyberbullying” is an increasingly serious problem because bullying at school is joined by an even worse one over 24 hours, mainly through Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This type of daily torture has cost the lives of thousands of young people and children in Latin America and in Spain,” said Dr. Javier Miglino, Expert in Human Rights Affairs and Founder of the NGO, Bullying Without Borders. 

This year’s ANAR Foundation and Mutua Madrileña report in Spain reveals the stats for this type of bullying is low because only 8.2 percent of students said that think that someone in their class is a victim of cyberbullying. This is 16 percentage points less than in 2020-21.

WhatsApp continues to be the main means by which cyberbullying occurs in 66.9 percent cases, followed by Instagram and TikTok.  

Victims of bullying have 2.23 times more risk of suffering from suicidal thoughts and 2.55 times more risk of making suicide attempts than those who have not experienced it, according to the charity Save the Children.  

How does bullying in Spain compare with other countries? 

According to Bullying Sin Fronteras, Spain is the worst country for bullying in Europe and the seventh worst country in the world.

Within Europe, Spain is followed by the UK, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The NGO reports that there have been 23,100 cases of serious bullying in Spain in 2022 so far.

Andalusia is the worst region for bullying with 27 percent of the cases, followed by Madrid with 15 percent of cases and then Catalonia with 11 percent of cases.

The regions with the least number of cases are Cantabria with only one percent, Aragón, Extremadura and the Basque Country with two percent of cases. 

What to do if your child is being bullied at school in Spain

If you know or think that your child is being bullied at school, there are several ways to help your child. Most importantly you should talk to your child’s teacher and report it to the school, that way they can be aware of the situation and keep an eye out. They can also talk to the bullies to stop it from happening again. If you feel that your Spanish is not good enough, take a friend along who can help you out. 

As well as contacting the school, you can contact the parents of the aggressor to make sure they know what’s going on and talk to their child.

According to the parenting website parents.com you should also try to build your child’s confidence, teach them the correct way to react, go through role-play situations, help them think up appropriate responses and promote positive body language.

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