No matter where you are working or where you are from, losing your job is never easy. If you’re looking for a job in Spain or have just begun working, you may be wondering: What happens if I get fired in Spain? Or maybe you’ve just been dismissed and wish to know what your rights are as a foreigner.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about employment termination in Spain, and about what justifies it.

How much is severance pay? What is the notice period? We’ll answer all your questions, and discuss the different types of dismissals here!

Let’s start.

What happens if I get fired in Spain?


If you get fired in Spain, the termination must be justified and must fall within certain situations. This is because in Spain, unlike in some other countries, you cannot fire someone simply as you see fit.

Employers cannot just dismiss employees without established grounds for termination.

Some of these grounds include two-party consent, established contract terms, employee resignation, retirement, illness, death, or contract expiration.

Employment termination can also take place under three types of terminations:

  • Objective collective dismissal
  • Objective dismissal
  • Disciplinary dismissal

These three terms may sound like foreign concepts, but, don’t fret, we will explain them all in the next section.


Employment Termination in Spanish Law


Spanish Law protects the well-being of both the employer and the employee. As previously mentioned, in the case of employment termination, there are three types of dismissals: individual, collective, and disciplinary.

When does each type happen? And, what does each situation entail?


Objective Dismissal in Spain


First, is the objective dismissal or the individual dismissal. This is probably the most known type of termination as it is the most straightforward.

This usually happens when an employee is fired because they cannot meet the standards or requirements of their job description, they are unable to adapt to job changes, or because of economic reasons.

Employers must provide a written notice or termination letter that clearly explains the reasons for the dismissal and when it takes effect.

Additionally, the employee must be given a notice period of 15 calendar days. If not, the employer must pay them for those days instead.

Disagreements over objective dismissals can be contested in labor courts.


Collective Dismissal in Spain


Next is the largest type of employment termination in Spain.

Collective dismissal occurs when a company needs to lay off groups of workers or entire departments due to economic or organizational reasons.

A layoff is considered a collective dismissal if these are the conditions within 90 days:

  • At least ten people were dismissed in companies with more than 20 employees but less than 100
  • At least 10% of the workers in companies with 100 to 300 employees
  • At least 30 people in companies with 300 or more workers

Even if a company doesn’t meet these exact numbers, it may still be considered a collective dismissal if it affects a big part of the company or a specific workplace with more than 20 workers.

When a company plans to do collective dismissals, they have to talk to employee representatives during a consultation period of one month (or 15 days if the company is small). This involves negotiating with the representatives, providing prior notice of layoff, and offering severance payments.

The company also has to tell the government about the redundancies. They need to explain why they’re letting people go, how many people are affected, what their jobs were, and how long they’ve worked there.

If the company and the employees do not reach an agreement during the consultation period, the company can still go ahead and let people go. In that case, the employees receive severance pay.

However, if the employees think the dismissal is unfair, they can challenge it in court.


Disciplinary Dismissal in Spain


Last but not least, is the disciplinary dismissal. This occurs when the employee has committed a serious breach of contract or a grave misconduct.

Acceptable reasons for disciplinary dismissal include:

  1. Contract violations
  2. Repetitive and unexplained absences or tardiness
  3. Defiance of superiors
  4. Any type of abuse (i.e. verbal, physical, mental, sexual)
  5. Bullying or harassing others based on race, ethnicity, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation, gender, or disability
  6. Being intoxicated at work
  7. Being addicted to drugs if it affects work or puts others at risk

Due to the reasons for a disciplinary dismissal to occur, this process does not require a notice period.


Unfair dismissal in Spain


If a boss fires an employee without having a good reason or without following the proper rules, the employee can take this to court. If the judge agrees with the fired employee, the termination is considered an unfair dismissal.

Once it is considered an unfair dismissal, the employer has two options:

  1. To rehire the employee. The employer will then have to pay the wages the employee missed during the whole process, unless there are special circumstances. These wages are counted from the day the employee was fired until the court’s decision is given to them.
  2. To not rehire the employee. If the employer decides not to take back the employee, they must pay compensation equivalent to 33 days of salary for each year worked, but this only applies if the employment started after February 12, 2012. If the employment started before this date, compensation is equivalent to 45 days instead.


Invalid Dismissal


If a boss fires an employee in a way that’s against the law or discriminates against them, it could be declared invalid.

This includes firing an employee while they are pregnant, on maternity or paternity leave, healing due to pregnancy complications, or adopting a child.

Firing an employee for taking time off to care for their child after childbirth, or to breastfeed are also grounds to nullify a dismissal.

Losing employment due to discrimination of gender, race or disabilities is also unacceptable.

In the case of an invalid dismissal, the employee must be taken back right away. They must also get paid for the months they didn’t work because of the dismissal.


How much is severance pay in Spain?


Severance pay in Spain is generally a minimum of 20 days’ salary per year of service capped at 12 months. This is usually for individual dismissals on objective grounds. However, this amount varies depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation.

For example, as we previously learned, unfair dismissals have different rules for the employment termination payment.

Unfair dismissals of jobs that started after February 12, 2012 result in a severance pay of 33 days’ salary per year of service capped at 24 months. For jobs that started before February 12, 2012, the severance pay for unfair dismissal is 45 days’ salary per year of service.

Then, if one gets fired under disciplinary dismissal, they don’t usually receive severance pay, unless a court decides it was unfair.

Lastly, if the employment termination happens with consent from both parties, the employee usually does not receive an employment termination payment. However, this also varies depending on what was agreed upon.


Spain Severance Pay Calculator


If you wish to compute your severance pay in Spain, you can access a severance pay calculator here.


What is the termination notice period in Spain?


The termination notice period in Spain is 15 days. If the employer does not give this notice period, the salary for these 15 days must be paid for.

If the termination happened on disciplinary grounds, there is no notice period required.


Avoid getting fired in Spain


All in all, getting fired in Spain is not easy nor simple.

There are different reasons for letting employees go, like disciplinary issues or when a company needs to reduce staff. However, employers must always follow legal steps, and employees have rights if they feel they were treated unfairly.

By understanding and following these rules, both employers and employees can handle job terminations fairly and smoothly in Spain. Moreover, you can avoid getting fired unfairly.

If you have any doubts or would like our team of lawyers to provide you with legal advice regarding your dismissal or dispute with your employer, please contact us through the following form:

    0/5 (0 Reviews)