Having a baby is one of the most exciting life stages, but often also one of the most stressful, particularly when it comes to juggling work and parental requirements. The Spanish government have sought to make this process a little easier for parents, by increasing paternity leave for fathers to 16 weeks. This change has already taken place, having been implemented on 1st January 2021. So what does this mean for new parents, and particularly new fathers? Here we will explore the change more fully.
The Changing Face of Paternity Leave in Spain
Over the past decade, paternity leave has changed considerably in Spain. In 2007, both mothers and fathers were only entitled to 2 days paid leave to spend time with their newborn child. This allowance increased slowly over the following years until, by 2019, paternity leave was 8 weeks long. Some fathers could take up to 10 weeks leave, provided the mothers were prepared to hand over 2 weeks of their maternity leave. This was further increased in 2020: both parents were entitled to 12 weeks leave and, if they chose to, some fathers could claim up to 14 weeks, provided they took 2 weeks of leave from the mother. Now, leave will no longer be transferable between parents, but the good news is that both mum and dad will be entitled to take 16 full weeks of leave with their newborn baby.
How Paternity Leave Allowances Will Be Distributed
The leave allowances will be divided into two parts. For the first six weeks the leave is mandatory and full time: for fathers this can be taken from the day that the baby is born, but for the mothers this can be taken from up to four weeks before the baby’s due date, giving time to rest and prepare for their new arrival. Once these first six weeks are over, the distribution of the remaining ten weeks is much more flexible. You can take it in one, uninterrupted chunk, in separate chunks so that both parents can take it in turn to car for the child, or part time. The only rule is that all of your leave must be taken before your baby reaches 12 months of age. After that point, you can choose to enroll your child in childcare, or make the decision to stay at home with your baby.
If you have a multiple birth, your child is disabled, or you adopt or foster a child, the amount of leave that you receive will be increased by one week. If your child is born prematurely or has a condition that requires hospitalisation for more than seven days, they your leave will also be extended again, by an additional 13 weeks.
How Much Will I Receive?
Paternity leave allowances in Spain are incredibly generous. Both parents will be entitled to 100% of their base salaries, and they also aren’t required to pay personal income tax on this income. This doesn’t just apply to contracted employees, but also to the self-employed.
If a mother chooses to go back to work (which is becoming more common in Spain now than it was a decade ago) then they are entitled to a payment of 100 euros a month, or a tax rebate of 1,200 euros a year, until their child is three years old.
Applying for Parental Leave
If your spouse or partner is expecting a baby, then applying for paternity leave is an incredibly straight forward process. You can start the process online. Just you need to check that you’re eligible: to be eligible, you need to have paid into the Spanish social security system for either 180 days in the past seven years, or for at least 360 days in your whole working life. Self-employed workers can demonstrate this using their tax returns and financial records.
Spain is a wonderful place to raise children, and a great place to move if you’re looking for somewhere new (and warm) to start a family of your own! If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Spain, or are simply hoping to invest in a holiday bolt hole to enjoy family breaks, then our local property experts are perfectly placed to help. Get in touch with the team to find out more about how we can help you and your family to turn your dreams into a reality.