Payroll in Spain: Guide for Employers
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Payroll in Spain: Guide for Employers

Spanish payroll explained: taxes, calculation, contributions

Navigating payroll in Spain can be a complex endeavor for foreign employers. This concise guide demystifies the Spanish payroll system, addressing key aspects like tax deductions, labor laws and regional nuances. Essential for legal compliance and employee satisfaction, understanding how does payroll work in Spain is crucial for any business operating in the country. Dive into our expert insights to ensure your payroll practices align seamlessly with Spanish regulations.

employer signa a payroll in spain

Payroll in Spain

Understanding the administration of payroll in Spain is vital for any employer operating in the country. With its multifaceted requirements, including various tax deductions, stringent labor laws, and regional variances, Spanish payroll presents a complex landscape that demands a thorough understanding of local tax and employment regulations and labor law. Accurate payroll administration is essential to comply with legal standards and to maintain employee satisfaction.

Let’s explore the specific of the spanish payroll, for entrepreneurs wishing to start a business in Spain.


Euro (EUR) is the official currency of Spain.

Payroll frequency

The typical payroll frequency in Spain is monthly.

Minimum wage

The minimum wage in Spain varies by industry sector as determined by collective bargaining agreements; however, a general guideline is approximately 1,080 EUR per month, paid in 14 installments. This includes the standard 12 months with an additional double payment typically made in July and December.

Overtime pay

Overtime pay is another critical aspect of payroll in Spain. Employees working beyond the standard 40-hour workweek are entitled to overtime compensation. It’s important to note that there’s a cap of 80 additional hours per year for overtime work, with specific rates and conditions often outlined in collective agreements.

13th and 14th-month salary

Additionally, Spanish employers must navigate the mandatory 13th and 14th-month salary payments. These extra payments are a common practice and are usually accounted for by dividing the annual salary into 14 parts, ensuring employees receive these additional wages during the summer and winter seasons, as stipulated in their employment contracts and collective agreements.

Navigating these elements of Spanish payroll is a sophisticated process that requires attention to detail and an appreciation for the nuances of spanish employment contracts.

At Lawants we are specialized in legal consulting to simplify hiring employees in Spain, ensuring compliance and optimization of resources. Rely on us to manage the complexities of Spanish payrolls and contracts. Discover how we can help you.

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Payroll taxes in Spain

The payroll tax system in Spain is a critical component for both employers and employees to understand, as it determines the mandatory contributions that must be made to the state. The system is designed to withhold and pay taxes directly from an employee’s salary, ensuring that income tax and social security contributions are collected efficiently.

Employers are responsible for deducting the appropriate amounts from their employees gross salaries and for making additional contributions on behalf of their employees. These deductions typically include income tax, known as IRPF (Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas), and social security contributions. The exact percentage withheld for income tax depends on the employee’s earnings and personal circumstances, following a progressive rate that increases with higher income levels.

Social security contributions, which cover benefits such as healthcare, pensions, and unemployment, are split between the employer and employee. Employers generally contribute a higher percentage than their employees. The total contribution is calculated based on a percentage of the employee’s salary up to a maximum contribution base established annually by the government.

Understanding the nuances of Spanish payroll taxes is essential for businesses to operate legally and transparently in Spain. Each tax has its own set of rules for calculation and payment, which will be further explored in the following sections of this guide.

Read also: What is the cost of an employee in Spain?

Income tax

In Spain, income tax for employees is calculated on a progressive scale, meaning that the rate increases as the taxable income of an individual rises. Employers play a crucial role in this process as they are obligated to withhold income tax from their employees’ salaries and remit it directly to the tax authorities.

The rates range from 19% for the lowest income bracket up to 45% for higher earnings, with an additional rate for incomes exceeding €300,000. It’s important to note that these tax brackets can vary in autonomous regions such as the Basque Country and Navarre.

Current tax brackets rates are:

  • €0 / €12,450: 19%
  • €12,451 / €20,200: 24%
  • €20,201 / €35,200: 30%
  • €35,201 / €60,000: 37%
  • €60,001 / €300,000: 45%
  • More than €300,000: 47%

The withheld income tax must be paid to the tax office by the 20th of each month following deduction. Employers are also tasked with completing and submitting Form 111, which is the official document for IRPF Withholdings at Source, to the Ministry of the Treasury. This formality ensures that the correct amount of income tax is collected and contributed throughout the fiscal year, reflecting a system that is both rigorous and structured to maintain fiscal responsibility.

Social security contributions

Social security in Spain serves as a fundamental safety net, providing coverage for pensions, work-related accidents, maternity leave, and illnesses. It is a comprehensive system designed to support employees during times of need and transition. Contributions to social security are split between employers and employees, ensuring that both parties invest in the long-term welfare of the workforce.

The general contribution rate to social security in Spain is around 31% of the employee’s gross salary. Employees contribute approximately 6% of their gross salary. This tiered structure reflects the shared responsibility for social welfare and is a crucial element of payroll in Spain. Furthermore, both employers and employees make separate contributions to finance unemployment benefits, the Salary Guarantee Fund, vocational training, and the intergenerational equity mechanism, which includes an additional 0.6% contribution on the base for common contingencies. These contributions enhance the robustness of the Spanish social security system. Employers must diligently calculate and remit these contributions as part of their payroll responsibilities to maintain compliance with Spanish labor laws.

Unemployment contribution

An integral part of the Spanish payroll system is the unemployment contribution, which is designed to provide financial support to workers who find themselves without employment. Employers contribute a rate of 5.5%, while employees contribute at a rate of 1.55%. This ensures that funds are available to assist individuals during periods of job search and transition, maintaining economic stability and workforce readiness. The contributions are a mandatory element of the payroll process and must be accurately managed to uphold the legal obligations of businesses operating in Spain.

Salary Guarantee Fund

Within the payroll in Spain framework, the Salary Guarantee Fund (Fondo de Garantía Salarial, FOGASA) serves as a safety net for employees in the event of their employer’s insolvency. Employers are solely responsible for contributing to this fund at a rate of 0.2%. These contributions provide assurance that employees will receive outstanding wages and severance payments up to a certain limit, should their employer be unable to fulfill these obligations due to financial difficulties. It’s important to note that this is one of the few contributions not shared with employees, highlighting its purpose as a protective measure within the Spanish labor system.

Vocational Training Contribution

The commitment to continuous professional development is underscored in the Spanish payroll system through the vocational training contribution. Employers contribute 0.6% while employees add a smaller share of 0.1% to fund training initiatives. This investment in the workforce is designed to enhance skills and competencies, ensuring that the labor market remains competitive and adaptive to new challenges. Exemptions from this contribution are rare, as the emphasis on vocational training is considered a cornerstone of Spain’s economic growth and workforce development strategy.

employer and employee in spain shake hands over agreeing on the terms of a payroll

Employment Act in Spain: Compensation and Benefits

The Employment Act in Spain is a robust framework that encompasses all regulations and laws governing employment, with a particular emphasis on compensation and benefits.

This includes the Statute of Workers Rights, which delineates maximum work hours, rest periods, annual holidays, public holidays, paid leave, and the handling of overtime. Employment contracts are heavily influenced by the convenio colectivo or collective bargaining agreements, which play a pivotal role in shaping payroll practices in Spain.

These agreements are often negotiated between workers’ unions and employers’ associations, providing specific terms that must be adhered to. Moreover, the Ministry of Employment and Social Security oversees labor issues to ensure compliance with these regulations. It’s crucial for employers to follow these procedures meticulously as labor inspections are common and non-compliance can lead to substantial penalties. The subsequent sub-paragraphs will delve into the specifics of these regulations as they relate to payroll in Spain.

Working Hours

In Spain, the structuring of working hours is an integral part of payroll management. The standard working week is capped at 40 hours, with the typical day often split into two segments: a morning shift starting around 8:30 to 9:00 am until about 2:00 pm, followed by an afternoon resumption from 4:00 to 5:00 pm until roughly 8:00 pm. This schedule reflects the traditional Spanish siesta.

Adherence to these hours is strictly monitored under the Spanish Worker’s Statute Royal Decree-Law 8/2019, which mandates all employees to record their daily working time through a system that captures their arrival, break times, and departure.

Overtime work is a regulated aspect of employment in Spain. Employees who exceed the standard 40-hour workweek are entitled to compensation for overtime. However, there’s a cap of 80 additional hours of overtime that an employee can work per year. The conditions for overtime work and compensation are typically outlined in collective bargaining agreements specific to each sector.

The customary working week spans from Monday to Friday, aligning with the business norms in Spain. For employers, understanding these regulations is vital as they have direct implications on payroll calculations and labor compliance.


In the realm of Spanish payroll, holiday entitlements are a key component that employers must factor into their calculations. Employees in Spain are guaranteed 30 calendar days of paid annual leave, which translates to 22 business days. This entitlement can be further enhanced by collective agreements that may offer additional days off.

The country observes a variety of public holidays, including 10 national holidays with the potential for regional variations. Notable fixed national holidays include New Year’s Day, Labour Day on the 1st of May, and Spanish National Day on the 12th of October. If any of these holidays fall on a Sunday, they are typically moved to the following Monday.

Each municipality enjoys a total of 13 public holidays per year. The government selects up to nine of these, while local authorities choose at least two. The distribution and scheduling of these holidays may vary by region, providing a degree of local flavor to the national calendar.

Holiday schedules within companies must be communicated to employees at least two months in advance. In cases where employees, particularly those on casual or temporary contracts, cannot take their legal minimum holidays during the designated periods due to non-working periods, they are entitled to receive a pro-rata holiday payment along with their wages.

It is crucial for employers to note that holiday time cannot be substituted with financial compensation under normal circumstances. In instances where there is a dispute over holiday dates, employees have the right to file a claim with the employment tribunal. Understanding these holiday regulations is essential for accurate payroll management and ensuring compliance with Spanish labor laws.

Paid leave

Managing paid leave is a critical aspect of payroll in Spain, as it encompasses various scenarios where employees are entitled to time off with pay. Employees are required to notify their employer and provide justification for their absence in order to benefit from these entitlements. Some of the circumstances that warrant paid leave include:

  • The birth of a child, or in the event of death, an accident, or a serious illness requiring hospitalization of a family member, employees are entitled to two calendar days off, which can extend to four days if travel is necessary.
  • For relocation purposes, one day of paid leave is granted.
  • Women are permitted one hour of absence each day for breastfeeding a child under nine months old. This can be condensed into half an hour if taken at the beginning or end of the workday. Notably, this right can also be exercised by fathers if both parents are employed.
  • Fulfilling public and private obligations such as jury service or court appearances is also grounds for paid leave when necessary.
  • Engaging in trade union or workers’ representative activities is granted as stipulated by law or collective bargaining agreements.

It is mandatory for employees to inform their employer beforehand and substantiate their absence to utilize their right to take paid leave. From a legal standpoint, activities like jury duty are regarded as an unavoidable public and personal responsibility, which must be accommodated within the framework of labor laws. Understanding these provisions is vital for employers to ensure accurate payroll management and compliance with Spanish employment regulations.

Maternity and paternity leave

Mothers in Spain are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave, with 100% of their salary paid. This leave can start up to four weeks before the due date and is divided into a compulsory period immediately after birth and an optional period that can be taken in full or as half-days within the child’s first year. There’s also an extension of two additional weeks for each additional child in the case of multiple births, and adoptive and foster parents are eligible for paid leave. The benefits are covered by the Social Security System Health Insurance Fund, ensuring healthcare access before, during, and after childbirth.

Fathers in Spain have equal rights to paternity leave, with the same duration of 16 weeks, paid at 100% of their salary by social security. This leave can be taken uninterrupted, intermittently, or on a part-time working schedule within the child’s first year. The non-transferable nature of this leave means that one parent cannot give some of their leave to the other.

Both parents have the right to unpaid parental leave until the child turns three. This leave can be taken consecutively or intermittently, but the employer must be notified at least 15 days in advance from the date of intended return to work. During the first year, the employer is obliged to reserve the same job position, and after that, a similar position must be offered.

For self-employed individuals, there are specific conditions regarding the contribution period to be eligible for paid leave, and they are exempt from paying their monthly social security contributions during maternity or paternity leave. They can also apply for a tax deduction of up to €1,200 per year until the child turns three.

It is essential for employers and employees to be aware of these updates to ensure compliance with national regulations and to support employee welfare. For more detailed information and assistance, contact our experts at Lawants: we will be able to assist you navigating the complexities of the spanish payroll administration.

Accounting & Tax Services

Here at LaWants we offer accounting and tax consultancy services that meet the needs of our clients. From our offices […]

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Compensation structures in Spain are carefully regulated to ensure fair remuneration for employees. As of recent updates, the national minimum wage has been set to a monthly figure that reflects a commitment to providing workers with a livable income. This baseline salary is structured across 14 payments annually, encapsulating the traditional 13th and 14th-month bonuses, typically disbursed in summer and winter, aligning with the country’s cultural practices.

Overtime compensation in Spain is subject to collective bargaining agreements that prevail in various sectors. These agreements dictate whether employees receive additional pay for extra hours worked or equivalent time off in lieu. The prevalence of such agreements underscores the robustness of employee protections and the importance of adhering to these standards in payroll calculations.

Employers must navigate these compensation nuances to maintain compliance with Spanish labor laws and to uphold the financial well-being of their workforce. These considerations are integral to payroll administration and reflect Spain’s commitment to safeguarding workers’ rights while supporting economic stability.

Termination and severance

In Spain, the termination of employment is a process bound by stringent regulations to protect both the employer and employee. The approach to termination must align with the stipulations of the Employment and Collective Agreements, which are contingent on contract types and reasons for termination. Typically, a notice period of 15 days is mandated, and failure to adhere to this can lead to employers providing payment in lieu of notice.

Severance pay in Spain becomes a key factor when an employer terminates an agreement without notice. In such instances, severance is calculated based on what the employee would have earned during the notice period. Employers have the discretion to either allow for the notice period to be served or opt for immediate contract termination accompanied by indemnity payment. This indemnity is calculated on the annual salary including benefits at the time of termination.

There are clear legal protocols for contract termination, including written notification detailing dismissal reasons and compensation aligned with tenure—20 days’ salary per year of service. For unfair dismissals, compensation may escalate significantly depending on the date of employment commencement and can reach up to 33 months’ salary.

Moreover, probation periods in Spain are typically outlined within collective agreements, with common durations being two months, which may extend to six months for certain categories of employees such as graduate technicians or those with seniority. This probationary framework allows both parties to evaluate the suitability of the employment relationship within a defined period.

payroll in spain showing the field for account number

Payroll processing in Spain

Payroll processing in Spain requires meticulous attention to detail and adherence to regulatory frameworks. Employers must first register with the Spanish Tax Agency (Agencia Estatal de la Administración Tributaria) to obtain a company tax number, essential for withholding income tax and fulfilling payroll obligations. Additionally, a Contribution Account Code (CCC) is necessary for social security registration with the National Social Security Institute (Seguridad Social), which must be completed before any employee commences work.

To process payroll, employers need to calculate both gross and net pay, taking into account mandatory deductions such as income tax and social security contributions. Employees must have a personal tax number for tax filings and a social security number (NAF). The reporting of new hires through an electronic hiring declaration is compulsory.

A local bank account is indispensable for transferring deductions to the relevant authorities. Payroll is typically processed monthly, with payments to employees issued between the 25th of the current month and the 5th of the following month. Employers are obligated to provide detailed payslips that include remuneration, deductions, personal employee information, and employer details.

Employers must ensure they meet all deadlines for submitting payroll information to avoid penalties for non-compliance. Furthermore, it is a legal requirement to maintain payroll records for at least four years. This systematic approach to payroll processing ensures transparency and compliance with Spanish employment regulations.

Reporting Requirements

When it comes to payroll in Spain, employers must stay vigilant about the stringent reporting requirements set forth by Spanish authorities. The deadlines for annual filing are critical to ensure compliance and avoid penalties. Key reporting dates include:

  • Form 111 is the quarterly tax form for reporting withholdings and payments on account of income tax for employees, professionals, and entrepreneurs. Employers must submit this form quarterly within the 20 days following the end of each quarter.
  • Form 190 is the annual summary of Form 111, providing a detailed annual account of all withholdings and payments on account reported quarterly. The deadline for submitting Form 190 is January 31st of the year following the fiscal year.

It is essential for employers to mark these dates in their calendars and prepare the necessary documentation well in advance to meet the Spanish payroll reporting obligations. Failure to adhere to these deadlines can result in fines and complications with tax authorities. Employers must also keep abreast of any changes in reporting requirements that may arise from legislative updates or policy changes within the fiscal year.

Lawants for Your Payroll Services in Spain

At Lawants, we offer unparalleled expertise in labor consultancy, ensuring your business adheres strictly to Spanish labor laws and regulations. Our dedicated team of expert labor consultants is committed to managing your staff with efficiency, cutting costs, and optimizing resources. We provide comprehensive services including the preparation of labor contracts, payroll, settlements, and cost reports.

Partner with Lawants for peace of mind in payroll management, allowing you to focus on growing your business while we handle the complexities of labor compliance and administration in Spain.

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