ELYS Relocations Breaks Down the Spanish Unemployment System

Relocation experts at ELYS Relocations explain to our ex-pat readers how the unemployment system works in Spain. 


Spain has a very practical system, if you work you can receive unemployment support for various months if you have completed one-year of employment. 

Unemployment benefit is part of the State’s passive employment policies as a system of economic coverage and aid for reinsertion into the labour market for unemployed people who have lost their jobs involuntarily. 

Unemployment benefit is a contributory benefit, i.e. to be entitled to it, we have to contribute financially to it when we are working and therefore, its final amount will depend on the contributions we have made, just the opposite of unemployment benefit, which is part of the non-contributory benefits.


How it Works

As previously mentioned, unemployment benefit is contributory, the following requirements must be met in all cases in order to be eligible for this benefit:

  • Involuntary loss of job. It is not possible to claim unemployment benefits if I have a permanent contract and I sign a voluntary redundancy.
  • Unemployment contributions to Social Security. The Social Security contribution regime in which you are included must allow you to pay unemployment contributions. At present, both the general scheme and the self-employed, mining, agricultural, and maritime schemes provide for this contribution in general. This is not the case, for example, for career civil servants in the public administration or for domestic workers.
  • Minimum unemployment contributions. The current minimum for entitlement to unemployment benefit is one year’s contributions, with a previous period in a scheme that entitles the worker to unemployment benefit and which is the reason for the involuntary loss of work.


The cases of involuntary job loss include dismissal, termination of a temporary contract, termination of the cooperative member’s membership, return of immigrants to Spain, and death or disability of the employer, among others.

The duration of unemployment benefit is related to the length of time we have paid unemployment contributions in our previous jobs. The equivalence rule is 4 months of unemployment benefit for each year of contributions, with a maximum of 2 years of unemployment benefit. The years are grouped into 6-month periods starting from the first year.

How to Apply

To apply for unemployment benefit, you have a period of fifteen days from the moment the situation of interruption of work activity that entitles you to receive the benefit is created. These benefits are processed through the corresponding regional employment services or even online if you have a DNIe or electronic signature on the Red Trabaja website.

The documentation that must be provided is the usual documentation for these procedures. You must be registered with the Employment Offices as a claimant, company certificate, ID card and documentation proving the existence of children. The right to receive the benefit is interrupted if you go back to work or do not actively look for work, although this is only in theory, in practice it is far from being the case.

Local town hall websites will give information on financial assistance pay-outs, which occur once a year. The local Social Services office is open in the mornings for you to apply.


ELYS Relocation Services

We recommend counting on the logistic and holistic services of ELYS Relocation services when it comes to preparing for your move to Spain. Their expert and multilingual team will be able to get to know what your individual needs and lifestyle choices are, to help you best settle into the right area for you. 




Phone number: +34675329999


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