How to Create Offer Letters for Employees in Spain


Jan 1, 2023

Want to hire an employee based in Spain? Today, it’s easier than ever to expand your hiring base and collaborate with workers around the globe. It’s important to ensure that you’re compliant with international employment regulations. Spanish labor laws are determined by the European Union, The Spanish Constitution, and the Workers’ Statute (Estatuto de los Trabajadores).

Full-time employment contracts in Spain do not have to be in writing—meaning that the employment agreement can be made verbally. Either party can request a formal contract in writing at any time. Even though it’s not legally required, it’s highly recommended that you draft up a formal job offer letter to outline the role’s terms and conditions of employment, set expectations, and help protect you and your business should any legal disputes arise.

Here is your guide to sending a comprehensive and legally compliant offer letter to a full-time employee in Spain. 

Spain job offer letter checklist

  • Before you get started: Spain regulates jobs by professional categories, with laws around working hours, salaries, and vacation days for each profession type. Make sure that your contract adheres to the requirements for the job category. It’s also crucial to know that collective bargaining is very common in Spain and it will likely impact the terms of your contract.
  • Position (job title), job description, profession group/category, start date, and probation period. Outline the job duties and explain that the prospective employee’s suitability for this role will be evaluated during a probation period. In Spain, probation periods are common, but must not exceed two months for most “unqualified” employees and six months for “qualified” technical experts. During that probationary period, either employer or employee may terminate the work at will.
  • Working hours. Detail the days and times you expect your employee to work. In Spain, the typical full-time workload is 40 hours per week, unless determined otherwise through collective bargaining. Employees are not allowed to work more than 80 overtime hours per year. Employers must also keep a daily record of the start and end time for each employee, and maintain those records for four years.

    Any work at night (between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.) is considered a “night shift” and requires premium pay. This is typically determined through a collective agreement.
  • Compensation & Benefits.
    • Salary. Specify the employee's monetary compensation in euros, in addition to any other compensation they may receive, such as bonuses, allowances, insurances, or equity compensation.Note the pay periods and frequency of payments, keeping holiday subsidies in mind. In Spain, salaries are split into 14 payments throughout the year rather than 12, with pay doubled as a Christmas holiday bonus and another bonus. That second bonus date is typically decided through collective bargaining and is often in June. This can be handled in one of two ways:
    • Equity. If applicable, specify any equity compensation they will receive. This might include stock options, restricted stock units (RSUs), and stock purchase plans.
    • Benefits. Benefits can be outlined in the offer letter. Address them in general terms so that an amendment to the offer letter isn't required if benefits change in the future. In Spain, the following benefits are mandatory for full-time employees:
    • Vacation and leave. Full-time workers in Spain are entitled to 30 calendar days (22 working days) of vacation per year. Employees are also entitled to 14 days of public holidays. In Spain, it’s typical for employees to be required to use up their vacation in the year it was earned, meaning that vacation days do not transfer to the next year. If your contract allows for them to transfer paid time off/vacation days, be sure to explain that in the employment letter. Note: Spain has very specific laws around sick leave. Employees are not entitled to pay for the first three days of their absence but must be paid a percentage of their salary from the fourth to the fifteenth day of illness. After that, social security kicks in to pay for their sick leave.
  • Termination policy. Clearly outline your limits for termination. In Spain, you may legally dismiss an employee due to misconduct if they are unable to complete the tasks of the job (unless that’s due to illness, pregnancy, or disability), or if the business no longer requires their services (in the case of redundancy). Disciplinary dismissals can be done at will, whereas general dismissals typically require 30 days’ notice. If your employee agrees, you may also substitute pay in lieu of notice.
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure. If there are confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements required for this job, outline them in detail. Such agreements are considered legally binding in Spain.
  • Other key details. This includes:
    • Contact information, including phone number. You must identify both your registered address, as well as your employee’s location.
    • Any additional collective bargaining instruments available to resolve employment disputes.
    • The employee’s professional category.
    • Place of work for your employee. If there is no fixed location (such as an office), indicate that the place of work is flexible. (Note that all remote workers in Spain are afforded a working-from-home allowance of €100/month.)
    • List out any contingencies for the offer, such as satisfactory results from a routine background check, signing company policy documents, or proof of their eligibility to legally work in Spain.
    • Request that the employee signs and returns the offer letter to confirm their acceptance of the job before their start date.
  • Non-compete and non-solicit agreements. Restrictive covenants, such as non-competes, are enforceable in Spain as long as you have a legitimate business interest to protect. Non-competes should be executed in writing, not exceed two years for technical experts or six months for other employees, and provide compensation for the duration of the restrictive covenant. Typically, the compensation is 30-60% of the employee’s salary.

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Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: May 11, 2024

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The Rippling Team

Global HR, IT, and Finance know-how directly from the Rippling team.