Guide to Maternity/Paternity leave in Spain

Guide to Maternity/Paternity leave in Spain

2021-08-24 15:40:56

After talking about the spiny document application processes when the child is born, let’s now focus on the most important legal rights the working parents are entitled to.

1. What is Maternity/Paternity leave about?

The Spanish labor law makes great efforts to protect the rights of the workers that have had a child or are in the prospect to have one in a few weeks. The law explicitly specifies that:

  • The workers cannot be fired by the company for pregnancy reasons, and they will have pregnancy benefits.
  • Both mother and father will have up to 16 weeks (4 months) of maternity/paternity leave. The first 6 weeks are compulsory for both parents. In both cases, the rest period can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis.
  • The maternity/paternity leave will be paid not by the company, but by the government. For employees
  • Public benefits for maternity and paternity perceived by Social Security are exempt from personal income tax

2. What is the difference between sick leave and maternity leave?

  • Sick leave (before giving birth):
    • Applied situations: Depending on your job, company, pregnancy risk, and other factors, this leave type can be granted days, weeks, or even some months before giving birth. The sick leave is applied to cases where the mother undergoes hard health conditions due to her pregnancy
    • The duration: 12 days per year in the company
    • Who will pay for this: the company
  • Maternity leave (after giving birth):
    • Applied situations:
      • Usually, it starts from the moment the baby has been born. If the doctor considers it appropriate, it could start up to 10 weeks before
      • Maternity leave also applies when you have adopted a child instead of giving birth to him/her
    • The duration: up to 16 weeks for both parents (4 months), and can even be extended
    • Who will pay for this:
      • For the initial 16 weeks: the government
      • In the case of extension: not paid

3. Am I entitled to this right?

To get paid during those maternity leave months, you must make sure to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be working for a company or as a self-employed worker
  • Age vs working life:
    • If you are below 21 years old, you won’t be required to have made contributions to social security before.
    • If you are 21 to 26 years old, you must be making contributions to social security for at least 90 days during the past 7 years, or 180 days during your entire working life.
    • If you are over 26 years old, you must be making contributions to social security for at least 180 days during the past 7 years or at least 360 days during your working life.

If you don’t meet this requirement, you can still get your maternity leave and get paid during those 16 weeks. Under certain conditions, you will get a non-contributory pension, which pays approximately €530 per month.

4. How does the whole process work?

Searching result page: after searching for social security centers in Barcelona

5. How to extend my maternity/paternity leave?

Some parents would like to look after their children for more than 4 months, so they might ask to extend the maternity leave even further, using the option ¨excedencia sin sueldo¨. This extension is completely voluntary and unpaid.

But this option grants you the possibility to take care of your kids until they reach 3 years old without returning to your job position. As the law suggests, the company must hold your job position during the first year and during the 2 following years, they must offer you a similar one if you decide to come back.

In practice, some working parents might take the kids to the kindergarten but ask for multiple extensions each summer during the school vacation month to take care of the kids until they reach 3 years old.

6. How much will you get paid during the maternity/paternity leave?

  • For employees working for a company, the payroll corresponding to the month before your maternity leave. You will be paid the same amount indicated shown in ¨base de cotización por contingencias comunes¨. Sometimes you might be paid more than usual because the amount also included bonuses and Christmas extras.
  • For self-employed,
    • During 2 years, mothers of newborn children don’t need to make their monthly Social Security contributions, which saves them approximately 280€ per month.
    • Also, they can decide to get paid 100€ per month for 3 years or to enjoy an income tax deduction of 1200€ for each child during those same years.

7. Recommendations from Adeslas:

Here in Adeslas, we care about you and the whole family. We offer the best private medical insurance, dental insurance, and accident insurance to protect the safety of you and the new birth.

New birth and recently pregnant moms may sometimes encounter discomfort because of the special stage of life they are in. With our insurance, you will get the best medical treatment with the least queuing time to ensure your health and safety. Go check the offers out!


[1] Absence for childbirth and child care allowance. (2021). Retrieved 20 August 2021, from

[2] Seguridad Social: Services. (2021). Retrieved 20 August 2021, from

Our contents will be updated according to the most recent legislation. Last update: 24/08/2021

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