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2. Contracts

2.2 Types of contract

Contracts can be made verbally or in writing, unless there are express provisions that require a written contract (for example, temporary contracts, part-time contracts and training contracts). If this formal requirement is not met, the contract is understood to be permanent and full-time, unless evidence is provided to the contrary.

Companies must provide the workers’ statutory representatives (if any) with a basic copy of all contracts to be made in writing (except for senior management contracts). The hiring of workers must be notified to the Public Employment Service within ten days of the contracts being made.

There are various different types of contract, including indefinite-term, temporary, fixed-term, training, distance work and part-time contracts.

In the website of the National Public Employment Service1 any can access a virtual assistant for employment contracts which, based on four basic types of employment contracts (indefinite-term, temporary, training and work-experience contracts), suggests and prepares the type of employment contract that best suits the characteristics of each new hire.

The principal features of these types of contracts are explained below.

2.2.1 Fixed-term contracts

Spanish legislation sets out specific grounds for the execution of fixed-term or temporary contracts.

All temporary contracts must be made in writing and must specify the reason for their temporary nature in sufficient detail. Otherwise, or if the ground for the temporary contract does not truly correspond to one of the legally-established grounds, the contract will be deemed to be made for an indefinite term, unless evidence of its temporary nature is provided.

If the fixed-term employment contract is made for a term of more than one year, the party intending to terminate the contract must serve notice at least fifteen days in advance or, as the case may be, give the advance notice established in the applicable collective labor agreement.

Contract for project work or servicesPerformance of a specific independent and self-contained project or service within the company’s business.In principle, uncertain. It will depend on the time taken to perform the project or service, with a maximum of 3 years, which may be extended for a further 12 months under a nationwide industry collective agreement or under an industry collective agreement of a more limited scope.The temporary grounds for the contract must be stated clearly and precisely. For contracts entered with after 2014, its termination entitles the employee to receive a severance equal to 12 days’ salary per year worked.

When the maximum periods established for any temporary contract have elapsed, workers will acquire the status of indefinite-term employees of the company.

When workers have been hired for more than 24 months within a 30-month period, with or without interruption, for the same or different position at the same company or group of companies, under two or more temporary contracts, whether directly or through temporary employment agencies, using the same or different types of fixed-term contract, the contract will be automatically converted into an indefinite-term contract.
Casual contract to cover temporary demand for productionTo meet market demand or backlogs or work or orders.Maximum of 6 months within a 12-month period (may be extended under an industry-wide collective labor agreement to an 18-month period but may not exceed 3/4 of that period in length, or the maximum term of 12 months).
Relief contractTo substitute workers entitled to return to their job due to a statutory provision, or the provisions of a collective labor agreement or individual agreement.From the beginning of the period until the return of the substituted worker or expiry of the term established for the substitution.One of the formal requirements is that the contract must state the name of the substituted worker and the grounds for the substitution.

2.2.2 Training contracts

Work experience contractHiring of university graduates or workers with higher or advanced vocational training qualifications (first degree, master’s degree or doctorate) or officially recognized equivalent qualifications, or workers holding a vocational qualification certificate (certificado de profesionalidad) entitling them to work in their profession.Minimum of 6 months and maximum of 2 years.

Sick leave, birth leave, leave for adoption or custody for adoption or fostering, leave due to risk during pregnancy and during breastfeeding and gender violence all toll the duration of the contract.
As a general rule, no more than 5 years may have elapsed since completion of the relevant studies, or 7 years if the contract is made with a disabled worker.

The minimum salary is 60% (during first year) and 75% (during second year) of the fixed salary established in the collective labor agreement for a worker with a similar or identical position.
Trainee and apprenticeship
Contract targeted at young people who lack the occupational qualifications recognized by the vocational training system or education system required for a work experience contract for the position or occupation for which the contract is made.Minimum of 1 year and maximum of 3 years. Term may be modified by a collective labor agreement but may not be less than 6 months or more than 3 years.

Sick leave, birth leave, leave for adoption or custody for adoption or fostering, leave due to risk during pregnancy and during breastfeeding and gender violence all toll the duration of the contract.
Although there are special cases, as a general rule, this contract is aimed at workers of between 16 and 25 years of age. This age limit is not applicable where the contract is with disabled workers or socially excluded personnel.

Compensated employment at a company must be alternated with training activities at a vocational training center or educational center.

Part-time contracts cannot be made. Workers cannot work overtime (except to prevent or repair extraordinary and urgent damage), at night or in shifts.

2.2.3 Part-time contracts

An employment contract will be part-time contract when a number of hours of work has been agreed with the worker per day, week, month or year, which is less than the working hours of a “comparable full-time worker”, that is, a full-time worker at the same company and workplace who performs identical or similar work.

Part-time workers have the same rights as full-time workers, although at times, according to their nature, such rights will be recognized proportionally, according to the time worked, having to guarantee, in any case, that there is no direct nor indirect discrimination between women and men.

Part-time workers cannot work overtime, except to prevent or repair losses and other urgent and extraordinary damages.

However, supplementary hours (hours worked in addition to those agreed in the contract, the performance of which is agreed beforehand) can be carried out. Supplementary hours may not exceed 30% of ordinary working hours (except where they are increased up to 60% in a collective labor agreement).

The employer is allowed to offer the employee hired indefinitely on a part-time basis no less than 10 weekly hours (on an annual basis), supplementary hours which are voluntary, which may not exceed 15% of the ordinary hours of the employment contract (30% if agreed in the applicable collective labor agreement).

The total ordinary hours and supplementary hours may not exceed the statutory limit for part-time work.

2.2.4 Distance work (telework)

Royal Decree-Law 28/2020 defines regular remote work where, within a reference period of 3 months, accounts for at least 30% of the working day, or the equivalent proportional percentage depending on the duration of the employment contract. The remote working agreement shall be in writing, voluntary and reversible for the employee and the company, and may be signed at the beginning of the employment relationship or later on.

Workers’ statutory representative must receive a copy of each remote working agreement within 10 days since its signing, which must be subsequently sent to the corresponding Public Employment Service office.

Mandatory minimum required content of each remote working agreement is:

  1. Inventory of means, equipment and tools provided.
  2. Expenses that remote working may cause, as well as monetary compensation, timing and method in which the Company shall pay for them.
  3. Working hours and availability periods.
  4. Percentage and distribution between on site and remote working hours.
  5. Corresponding workplace.
  6. Designated remote working place.
  7. Reversibility advance notice period.
  8. Means of exercising corporate control.
  9. Procedure to be followed in the event of technical difficulties preventing remote working.
  10. Company instructions (participated by workers representatives) on data protection.
  11. Company instructions (after informing workers representatives) on information security.
  12. Length of the remote working agreement.

Any modification of the above must be subject of a new written agreement.