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Unemployment benefits in Spain

When can you apply for these?

If you are unemployed but are able and willing to work, if you have been dismissed or if, due to cut-backs at your company, your working hours and salary have suffered a reduction of between 10% and 70%, you are entitled to apply for financial support.

If you are registered in one of the Spanish social security systems and have been paying your contributions, you are entitled to Contributory unemployment benefit: a contributory benefit awarded to people who are unemployed but committed to working and who have contributed for a minimum of 360 days during the previous 6 years before becoming unemployed.

What requirements must you meet?

You will be entitled to this benefit if:

  • you are registered with Social Security;
  • are legally unemployed, register as a job seeker in the public employment service, are actively seeking employment and are willing to accept suitable employment;
  • have paid contributions for at least 360 days in the 6 years before becoming unemployed or before the end of your obligation to pay contributions;
  • are older than 16 and have not yet reached retirement age.

What are you entitled to and how can you apply for it?

If you are completely unemployed, the unemployment benefit entitles you to:

First 180 days

From day 181

70 % of the calculation basis

50 % of the calculation basis

The amount of the benefit may in no case whatsoever be greater or lesser than the set limits, depending on the number of family members who are dependent on the unemployed person.

Without children

With children

Minimum amounts

80 % of the IPREM, increased by a sixth (€501.98 a month)

107% of the IPREM, increased by a sixth (€671.40 a month)

Without children

With one child

With two children

Maximum amounts

175 % of the IPREM, increased by a sixth (€1,098.09 a month)

200% of the IPREM, increased by a sixth (€1,254.96 a month)

225% of the IPREM, increased by a sixth (€1,411.83 a month)

In the event of unemployment due to losing a part-time job, benefits are calculated in proportion to the reduction in working hours. Minimum and maximum limits are reduced proportionally, after applying the same percentage that results from hours worked divided by the usual company hours.

The duration of benefits, which varies between 120 and 720 days, depends on the length of time for which the person paid their social security contributions during the previous 6 years.

These benefits are managed by the Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal, SEPE (State Public Employment Service). The first step to obtaining the benefit is to register as a job seeker in one of their offices and, once there, apply for the benefit within two weeks after you become legally unemployed. You can also apply online, through the sede electrónica del SEPE.

Jargon busters

  • Contributory: contributory benefits are ones which require a minimum level of contributions, that is, it is necessary to have paid social security contributions for a set length of time.
  • Commitment to work: refers to the duty of the unemployed person to actively look for employment, accept a suitable placement and take part in training, retraining or professional integration activities.
  • Suitable placement: a job or placement is suitable when it coincides with the profession requested by the worker, their normal profession or with any other profession suited to their physical and educational aptitudes. In any event, the placement that coincides with the last job is usually suitable, if it lasted for at least three months.
  • Calculation basis: is the average of the contribution bases for unemployment during the last 180 days worked, excluding payment for overtime.

Find out about your entitlements

These links will help you to find out about your entitlements in Spain:

Who can you contact?

State Public Employment Service

SEPE central services

C/ Condesa de Venadito, 9

28027 Madrid


Tel. +34 917006600

Fax +34 917006716

Telephone number for workers: +34 901119999

Search for offices by region

Applications for unemployment benefit applications.

European Commission and national authorities dealing with unemployment insurance.

This page was last updated on February 15, 2020.

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