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WORKING IN SPAIN

Spain’s jobless rate drops due to tourism recovery and less temp work

Spain's unemployment rate fell in the second quarter of 2022, data showed on Thursday, helped by a recovery in the tourism sector and reforms aimed at cutting the use of temporary contracts.

Spain's jobless rate drops due to tourism recovery and less temp work
The number of job seekers in Spain fell below three million in May for the first time in 15 years.(Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Unemployment edged down to 12.48 percent in the second quarter from 13.65 percent in the previous three-month period, national statistics institute INE said in a statement.

The number of unemployed people fell by 255,000 in the second quarter to a total of 2.92 million, with the services sector leading job creation, it added.

Hotels, restaurants and bars have taken on more workers as Spain’s key tourism sectors continue to rebound following the end of most pandemic travel restrictions.

The improvement in the jobless rate has also been driven by a labour market reform which came into effect on January 1st and limits the back-to-back use of temporary contracts and makes permanent contracts the rule rather than the exception.

However, there are voices from within some of Spain’s trade unions and the PP opposition party that say that the new system is “perverting the figures” and “dressing up the reality”, as although many of these contracts are labelled as permanent, employees only work during certain months of the year.

READ ALSO: Spain’s labour market buoyed by sharp drop in temporary contracts

The number of job seekers in Spain fell below three million in May for the first time in 15 years.

Economy Minister Nadia Calviño said Tuesday that the improvement in Spain’s labour market is “one of the motors” of the country’s economic growth.

She predicted Spain’s jobless rate would drop to 12.8 percent at the end of the year and to 12.0 percent in 2023.

At the same time, Calviño slashed Spain’s growth forecast due to the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and higher interest rates.

Among western economies, Spain was one of the worst-hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic, with its gross domestic product collapsing by 10.8 percent in 2020, largely due to its heavy dependence on tourism.

Some half-a-million people lost their jobs in 2020 in Spain, which has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

READ ALSO: The downsides of moving to Spain for work

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WORKING IN SPAIN

What to be aware of before accepting a part-time job in Spain

Understanding the ins and outs of part-time contracts, the different types, your rights, and what it means for claiming state aid, can be crucial for making a decision about your working life in Spain.

What to be aware of before accepting a part-time job in Spain

Part-time contracts in Spain are, in theory, pretty similar to elsewhere. They are essentially employment agreements between an employee and an employer when the number of working hours per week is less than that of a full working week.

The Spanish government recently committed to cutting the working week to 37.5 hours, but this will be phased in over time and we can assume, for now, that the standard working week is still generally around 40 hours.

READ ALSO: Spain set to slash work week to 37.5 hours

What types of part-time contracts are there in Spain?

In Spain, there are mainly two types of part-time contracts. These are:

1. Indefinite part-time contract (contrato indefinido a tiempo parcial)

The contract is for an indefinite period of time, i.e. there is no predetermined end to the employment relationship. This is the most typical contract for steady, stable part-time work such as a host in a restaurant or shop assistant who only works works a few hours per day alongside studies or childcare responsibilities.

2. Part-time fixed-term contract (contrato a tiempo parcial por duración determinada)

In these cases, the contract is drawn up with an end date in mind and comes to an end after a certain amount of time.

This fixed-term contract is more common for seasonal jobs, such as fruit pickers or waiters working in a beach bar over the busy summer season, and are often repeated on an annual basis.

Are part-time contracts different from full-time jobs in Spain?

Part-time contracts in Spain share most of the same characteristics as full-time contracts, in that they will include the same workers’ rights and be covered under the same collective bargaining agreement. However, they usually include some differences:

  • Obviously, the contract’s main difference will be that it establishes a working week of less than the 40 hours that full-time staff work. Your contract should specify your hours.
  • They do not allow overtime (except in emergencies).
  • Part-time contracts can later be converted into a full-time contract, as long as the employee agrees. Under no circumstances may a new contract be imposed by the employer.
  • Part-time contracts are also compatible, in most cases, with state aid such as unemployment benefits and partial retirement pensions.

READ ALSO: The jobs in Spain for which speaking English is a big advantage

How many hours should a part-time contract be?

Obviously the exact number depends on the position, sector, and agreement you make with your employer, but normally in Spain a part-time contract is one that is between 30-35 hours per week, although many contracts are also for 20 hours per week (4 hours per day spread across normal 5 day working week) or even less.

How are part-time contracts drawn up in Spain?

Again, much of this is similar to everywhere else, but in Spain all contracts, whether part-time or full-time, must be formalised in writing. This means that, in order for the contract to be legitimate, it must be formally signed.

For part-time contracts, the following conditions must be met:

  • A job contract in writing, with the number and distribution of daily hours for which the worker is hired clearly specified. Often in Spain, if this information is not outlined, it is assumed that the contract is full-time.
  • Once drawn up and signed, the employer must communicate the contract to the Spain’s SEPE (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal) within 10 days of signing. The same applies to all contract extensions.
  • If applicable, the employer must also provide the employee’s legal representatives, should they have them, with a copy of the contract within 10 days of signing. 

Do part-time contracts have the same rights for holidays and days off?

For days off, yes, but it will depend on your exact working scheduled.

Part-time workers in Spain should also have the same amount of holiday days as full-time workers, i.e. 30 calendar days of leave per year. The type of contract, that is to say, whether it’s fixed-term or indefinite, has no bearing on holiday dates either.

READ ALSO: What are my rights to take breaks at work in Spain?

How does a part-time contract affect unemployment benefits?

It is possible, technically speaking, to work part-time while receiving unemployment benefits in Spain, but it will be reduced proportionally to the hours and proving it can involve complicated paperwork and several trips back and forth to the employment office.

Generally speaking in Spain, unemployment benefits in Spain are tied to your last employment contract. This means that, once the contractual relationship has ended, part-time jobs qualify for a lower benefit than full-time jobs.

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