Contracts in Spain

Overview by

The Active Population in Figures

Main Indicators 2005 2006 2007
Labor Force 20 885 700 21 584 800 22 404 500
Labor Force (Annual Growth, %) 3.46 3.35 3.80
Rate of Activity (%) 57.7 58.6 59.1
Unemployment Rate (%) 8.7 8.3 8.6

Source: INE


Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labor Force) 2006
Agriculture 4.5%
Industry 15.0%
Construction 12.5%
Commerce 14.6%
Transports 5.6%
Real-estate 9.0%
Administration 5.9%
Education 5.3%

Source: INE


Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
The application package sent must contain a CV and references; a cover letter (carta de presentación) is not always asked. Internet is used more and more; however in some regions, the companies prefer the candidate to directly introduce himself on the spot and submit his application. The recruitment method is face-to-face interview.
Recruitment Agencies
The INEM is the official employment agency.
Recruitment agencies ( Michael Page),  and temping agencies ( Kelly Services),  are present and help people find jobs. The regions also have a help service to help find a job.
Recruitment Websites
CBJobs España

The Contract

Type of Contract
The labor contract can be written or oral; for an indefinite period or for a defined duration, training contract, relief contract, termporary contract for work or defined assignment.
For further information, please visit the website of INEM or refer the labor guide from the Department of Labor and Social Welfare.
Breach of Contracts
  • Retirement
Retirement age is 65 or 64 years (full rate) or minimum 15 years contribution to Social Security (proportional rate). There is also a partial retirement which enables the retired person to leave and for a young or unemployed person to take his place by training him ("contrato de relevo", relief contract).


  • Dismissals
The different types of dismissals/ layoffs: force majeure, mass layoff for economic, technical, organizational or production related motives , serious mistake or objective causes.
  • Other Possible Methods
Resignation, non-fulfilment of the contract by the employer, mutual agreement, contract clauses, end of duration of the contract or execution of work or services of the contract, death, retirement, invalidity, complete and permanent incapacity of the worker or employer.
Labor Laws
Labor laws

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Working conditions, harassment, discrimination, laying off, not respecting labor contract, etc.
  • Legal Framework
R.D.LG. 2/95 (in Spanish), Ley 22/03, Ley 45/02, R.D.LG. 1/95, L.O. 1/04, L.O. 3/07.
  • Procedure
Each Autonomous Community has developed its own legislation in this matter. A company established in several Autonomous Communities is subject to the regulations of the State. A request for arbitration must be submitted following which the labor authority (Autoridad Laboral) makes an attempt to arbitrate. If an agreement is not reached, the worker must file a request with the Social Welfare Tribunal which will take a decision.

Judicial Structures

  • Legal Framework
Ley Organica 6/1985, de 1 de julio
  • Competent Legal Body
Juzgados de lo social (Social Affairs Tribunal)

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
There are about forty trade unions (general or regional) and a large number of sector-based / regional unions (gremios).
Unionization Rate
Union membership is low: around 14%.
National Labor Union
Association of Trade Unions
Workers' Commission
Regulation Bodies
Department of Labor and Social welfare

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  • U.S. Commercial Service Poland

    U.S. Department Of Commerce, Spain