For members


Reader question: Can I take time off work if my child is sick in Spain?

Balancing work and childcare can be a tricky situation, but it can be made even more difficult when your kid is sick. What are your legal rights when this happens? Are you allowed to take time off work?

Reader question: Can I take time off work if my child is sick in Spain?
Children's fever syrups are running particularly short in Europe right now. Photo: Victoria Model / Pixabay

During this time of year in particular, there are lots of colds, flu and other viruses such as Covid-19 going around and unfortunately, kids are more susceptible to catching them from mixing with other children at nurseries or schools.

There’s nothing worse than trying to get ready for work while trying to get the kids up too and suddenly your little one is complaining of a sore throat and feels hot to the touch. You know there’s no way they can go to nursery and you have no time to organise alternative childcare at this late notice, so your only option is to take the day off work.

But are you allowed to just call your employer and take time off for such a situation when you’re not sick yourself?

The short answer is yes. Spanish legislation currently allows for two days of paid care leave, whether you need to look after your child or another member of your family.

New legislation 

The European Union, however, recommends a minimum of five days per year and recently the Spanish government announced it would offer more fully paid leave for workers under the new Ley de Familias or Family Law.

Originally the Ministry of Social Rights headed up by Ione Belarra had hoped that the government would offer seven days of fully paid leave, plus nine days a year for workers travelling outside of their region, but after much discussion, they have settled on five days.

The new rule will not only cover sick children, but workers can also stay home to care for anyone they share a household with, not only blood relatives as current legislation allows. 

Unfortunately, the law has not been fully approved yet and still has to go through several final processes.

Government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez has not yet specified a date when it will be approved, but assures that they are “still working on it rigorously”.  

Current situation 

This means that while there is a better solution coming, if your child is currently ill, you will still only be entitled to two days of paid care leave.

But what if your child is not better after two days? Depending on your company or your employer, you have various options.

You may be able to ask to work from home so that you can stay home with your child. If you can’t work from home, your employer may allow you to take more time off should you need it, however, currently you won’t be paid for these days. You and your employer will have to come to some type of agreement. 

Keep an eye out for new articles at The Local Spain, as we will be covering the new Family Law as soon as it’s approved. 

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For members


Reader question: Does a passport renewal restart the 90-day clock for visiting Spain?

If you were hoping that your renewed passport might offer a way to avoid the 90-day rule when visiting Spain, here is what you should know.

Reader question: Does a passport renewal restart the 90-day clock for visiting Spain?

Question – I’m British and since Brexit my passport is stamped when I enter and leave Spain, in order to keep track of my 90-day allowance. However, I’ve recently renewed my passport and of course, the new one has no stamps – does this mean that I get a new 90-day allowance?

While it may seem like passport renewal could be a loophole for getting around the 90-day rule when visiting Spain, you should not attempt to spend more than 90 days out of every 180 in the Schengen zone without a visa or residency permit. 

Non-EU nationals including Americans, Canadians, Australians and – since Brexit – Brits are limited to spending only 90 days out of every 180 within the EU. Anyone who wants to spend longer than this needs to apply for either a passport or a residency card. These rules apply whether you want to move to an EU country such as Spain to live or simply want to make frequent or long visits here.

The 90-day ‘clock’ covers all EU and Schengen zone countries – if you need help calculating your time spent in the Schengen zone, you can do so using an online calculator HERE.

Passports are stamped on entry and exit to the EU/Schengen zone, with dates of entry and exit.


However, getting a new passport does not reset the clock – some have suggested that a new passport could be a work-around, as it would not show previous entry/exit stamps which are used to calculate the amount of time a non-EU national person has spent in the Schengen zone. 

The primary reason is that passports are in most cases automatically scanned when you enter and leave the Bloc, which makes it easy to spot overstayers and for border forces to enforce the 90-day rule. This means that border forces do not only rely on the physical stamps in your passport.

The EU’s new EES – Entry and Exit System – will tighten up the scanning process, but its entry has been delayed.

READ ALSO: What happens if you overstay your 90-day limit in Spain?

While Spain generally has a reputation for being less strict than some other EU countries,  if you are caught overstaying your allocated 90 days you can end up with an ‘overstay’ flag on your passport which can make it difficult to enter any other country, not just Spain, and is likely to make any future attempts at getting visas or residency a lot more difficult.

The consequences for staying over can also include being fined upon exit if they are found to have spent more than 90 days in the Schengen zone.

Keep in mind that the 90-day rule does not apply to all non-EU countries – some states, such as India, are required to have a visa for even short stays. You can access the European Union’s map that outlines which countries require visas for short stays to check to see if you are eligible.