Average Salary in Spain
The minimum wage in Spain is known as SMI (Salario Mínimo Interprofesional) and applies to all workers regardless of their age, gender or employment contract, including casual and temporary work or personal work within the service of a household.
The Spanish minimum wage (or salario, wages in Spanish) is revised and set each year by the government through a Royal Decree. A variety of factors come in to play when deciding the minimum wage, including national productivity and employment levels. The Ministry of Employment and Social Security sets the minimum wage in Spain at daily, monthly and annual levels.
There are several words to refer to wages in Spanish that are sometimes used interchangeably:
- el salario, el sueldo – wages or salary in Spanish
- la paga, los emolumentos– pay
- la remuneración – remuneration
- los ingresos – income
Minimum wage in Spain
For 2017, the government increased the national minimum wage in Spain by 8 percent. The 2017 increase represents a significant rise in Spanish minimum wages, as seen below, when compared to an increase of just under EUR 14 in total between 2011 and 2016 as a result of minimal increases and wage freezes.
- Spanish minimum wage 2017: EUR 707.60 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2016: EUR 655.20 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2015: EUR 648.60 per month
- Spanish minimum wage 2011: EUR 641 per month
However, more than 5.5mn people in Spain earn the Spanish minimum wage, according to Spain’s two biggest unions, who criticised the latest increase as still ‘insufficient’, falling below their campaign for at least a EUR 800 monthly Spanish minimum wage. If union and social-backed government plans are approved, minimum wage could see a quick hike to EUR 800 in a year followed by a more gradual raise to EUR 1, 000 in coming years, although there is much objection.
One difference to note is that Spain’s monthly minimum wage is fixed at two levels, either EUR 707.60 per month or EUR 825.65 per month; both figures equate to the same annual Spanish minimum wage, however, the lower figure takes into account that some employers in Spain pay 14 monthly payments a year (including two ‘double months’ in June and December) rather than 12, typically dependent on collective or union agreements. The minimum wage is also offered as a daily rate to protect those who don’t earn a fixed monthly or yearly salary in Spain.
Minimum wages in Spain 2017:
- Daily minimum wage: EUR 23.59
- Monthly minimum wage: EUR 707.60 (based on 14 payments, or EUR 825.65 based on 12)
- Annual minimum wage: EUR 9, 906.40
If the number of working hours comes to less than a full day, the quantity is proportionally reduced. The government doesn't set an official minimum wage in Spain per hour, although Spanish law sets the standard working week at 40 hours; for reference only, this would calculate to a Spanish minimum wage per hour of around EUR 4.75 (based on annual minimum wage). See the government's website for information on official minimum salary in Spain.
Salary in Spain must typically be paid for periods not exceeding one month. Your employer should provide you with a payslip clearly stating the name of the company and worker, salary, deductions (including the worker’s social security contributions and IRPF or income tax deductions).
The employer is responsible for collecting all contributions and therefore deducts the correct amount for the income tax (IRPF) and social security contributions due under the law. The amount deducted for IRPF depends on pay and personal and family circumstances (children and people dependent on the worker). Workers must provide the required information to their employers to properly calculate the corresponding deduction. In the case of temporary contracts lasting less than one year, the deduction rate is typically lower than standard tax rates.
Spanish minimum wage for part time workers
For part-time workers in Spain, the Spanish minimum wage is set at half of the total values, around a minimum of EUR 353.80 a month based on 14 monthly payments. Even domestic workers in households are deemed as employees, and their 'employer' must also adhere to general labour law and pay a domestic helper salary of, at least, a pro-rata Spanish minimum wage per hour (if less than a full day).
General labour laws also apply even if the working relationship lasts less than three months (seasonal or contract workers), meaning an employee must receive at least the minimum daily wage set and in some cases may be able to claim a pro-rata payment for Sundays and public holidays, plus their minimum legal holiday entitlement for time worked, assuming that such holidays were not taken during the contract term.
How does Spain's minimum wage compare?
In absolute terms the minimum wage in Spain ranks as the ninth highest out of 22 European countries that have statutory minimum salaries. However, while Spain’s minimum wage is above some of its European neighbours such as Greece, Portugal and Poland, it remains significantly below the highest national minimum wages seen in Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland, Holland, France and the UK. Even though Spain's 2017 wage increase was the largest in some 30 years, Spain's minimum wage is still considerably lower than its French neighbour where the minumum wage is EUR 1, 467, although higher than Portugal's minimum wage at EUR 618.
Some workers might find compensation, however, in the particularly generous holiday allowance in Spain, which is exceptionally higher than in many EU countries. Annually, workers in Spain who have been employed for more than a year are entitled to 30 days of paid holiday, in addition to 14 days of Spanish national holidays.
Spanish labour law is also relatively protective, with labour laws restricting hours of work to nine per day, with a minimum of 12 hours rest time between working days. While rest periods per week vary between occupations, the standard rest period should be at least one and a half days per week.