For me, adjusting to corporate life in Spain was not the easiest thing in the world. The concept of a two hour lunch, strolling in at 10.00 and taking various leisurely coffee and/or smoke breaks was completely foreign to me after having been “raised” in the trenches of Corporate America in New York, where eating a sandwich at my cube with one hand while typing a memo with the other were par for the course. Now that I have been here for some time, however, I have been able to observe, and even take advantage of, the many benefits that having a permanent contract in Spain have to offer. A few of the highlights include:
- -When you get married, you get an extra 15 days of time off. Fresh off my honeymoon, I can say this one has been the most significant perk for me. Counting down from the day of your wedding, you have 15 days (on top of your vacation time afforded by your Company) to enjoy and take time off. Since it is 15 días naturales, weekends are included in the count, but it is a wonderful treat nonetheless.
- -If you are moving house, you also get a bonus day off. I could have used this in NY, where I moved 4 times in 6 years!
- -Employees are entitled to at least 30 natural days, or 22 business days, of paid time off per year. That is pretty incredible, especially considering it is a minimum.
- -Minimum permitted maternity leave is 16 uninterrupted weeks for the mother, and 13 natural days for the father. On top of this, mothers are also permitted to take time off for breastfeeding. This can be taken in various ways, including 1 hour per day until the baby is 9 months, 2 half hour increments per day until the baby is 9 months, or two extra weeks of maternity leave tacked onto the end of the 16 weeks. Where I work, taking the extra two weeks seems to be the common choice, at least from a practical standpoint.
- -Parents have the right to take a jornada reducida, or shortened work day (with a proportional decrease in salary) to take care of their children. This right exists until the youngest child is 8 years old. It is pretty common where I work for women to start working this shorter day once they have a baby.
Working in Spain is certainly not easy, but knowing there are benefits like these certainly helps to ease the pain.