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Your guide to unemployment benefits in Spain

How much unemployment will you receive and how is it calculated? Find out below.

6 min read

Unemployment is a government benefit that helps you bridge the gap between jobs with monthly financial support. The concept is relatively simple—if pay into the Spanish Social Security, you’ll be able to collect unemployment benefits. However, discovering how the system works and how much you’re entitled to—and for how long—is anything but simple. But don’t despair! With the information in this article, you’ll be able to learn the value of your accrued social security contributions, along with how many months of unemployment benefit you’re entitled to based on the amount of time you’ve paid into the system. Let’s go! 

How long can I claim unemployment benefits?

Whether you’ve been laid off, put on short-time work, or are planning a career change, unemployment benefits can provide financial security when you need it most. So if you find yourself unemployed, it’s helpful to know how long you’ll benefit—and how much you can expect to earn. This table will give you a rough idea of how many months you’ll be able to access benefits based on how long you’ve contributed to the social security system.

Contribution daysEntitlement days
360 to 539 120
540 to 719 180
720 to 899 240
900 to 1,079 300
1,080 to 1,259 360
1,260 to 1,439 420
1,440 to 1,619 480
1,620 to 1,799 540
1,800 to 1,979 600
1,980 to 2,159 660
2,160 720

How much unemployment am I entitled to?

When you apply for unemployment, Social Security calculates your benefit amount using your average contribution basis (your gross monthly pay including prorated payments) for the last 180 days during which you’ve contributed—not including overtime. You’ll then receive 70% of the “calculation basis”—a yardstick used to calculate the exact amount workers are entitled to receive from Social Security. This 70% will be paid out to you for the first six months that you’re unemployed. After that, you’ll get 50% of the calculation basis for the remaining days. However, it’s worth noting that your benefit amount can’t be lower than the set minimum, or higher than the set maximum.

Let’s look at an example. Imagine you earned €1,200 per month at your former job—what level of benefits are you entitled to? This calculation is actually quite simple. Your contribution base for your last six working months will be €1,200, which means that you’ll receive €840 per month for the first 180 days after becoming unemployed. After that you’ll receive €600 per month until your unemployment ends.

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Requirements for receiving unemployment

Unfortunately, not having a job isn’t enough to qualify you for unemployment benefits. First, you’ll need to meet several requirements. You must: 

  • Contribute to Social Security 
  • Apply for unemployment within 15 days of your dismissal or end of contract
  • Not have voluntarily resigned
  • Have worked and contributed for at least 360 days in the six years before your benefit application
  • Not be unemployed as a result of being fired, your contract ending, or because your working hours have been reduced by over a third
  • Not be receiving any government support that jeopardizes your right to benefits 
  • Not be of retirement age
  • Have no freelance income or full-time employment

Maximum and minimum benefit amounts 

If two people have both contributed the same amount of money for an equal period of time, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll receive the same amount of unemployment. Benefit payments are calculated according to what you’ve contributed in the last few months and if you’ve been consistently employed for at least one year before applying. But there are other factors that come into play, like the amount of dependents you have.

The SEPE (The Spanish Public Employment Service) also sets maximum and minimum limits on the amount of money you can receive when you’re unemployed. For these amounts to be applicable, your last job needs to have been full-time.

Maximum amount of unemployment 

Here are the maximum amounts you can receive for contributory benefits:

  • With no children: 175% of the IPREM (Multiplier Effect on Index of Revenue), which is €1,153.33.
  • If you have one child in your care: 200% of IPREM, which is €1,318.10. 
  • If you have two or more children: €1,482.86.

Minimum amount of unemployment

If you worked full-time for the six months before the date you became unemployed, here are the minimum amounts you can receive:

  • With no children: 80% of IPREM, or €527.24.
  • If you have one or more children in your care: 107% of IPREM, or €705.18. 

If you were working part-time for the six months before the date you became unemployed, the minimum unemployment you can expect is as follows:

  • No children: €263.50 
  • If you have one or more children in your care: €352 

Unemployment aid, and other benefits and support

Unlike unemployment benefits, which are based on the contributions of an individual when they were working, unemployment aid is financial support for those who are not entitled to receive unemployment or who are in the following situations:

  • They’ve returned to Spain after living and working in a country that doesn’t belong to the EEA (European Economic Area), or that doesn’t have a bilateral agreement with Spain covering unemployment.
  • They haven’t contributed to Social Security for long enough to receive contributory benefits, but they’ve contributed for at least three months if they have dependents, or at least six months if they don’t.
  • They’ve served a prison sentence of over six months and aren’t entitled to unemployment benefit when they leave prison.
  • They’ve used up their unemployment allowance and have dependents, as long as the total household income is less than 75% of Spanish minimum wage per person.
  • They’ve used all their unemployment and are at least 45 years old.
  • They have no income and receive permanent disability support that’s in the process of being withdrawn due to an improvement in health.

As well as unemployment aid, there are several forms of financial support designed for unemployed people who aren’t entitled to unemployment benefits.

The job seeker’s allowance provides €431 per month for 11 months. It’s available to unemployed people between 45 and 65 years old with an income below €712.50 per month. This economic support is also available to unemployed persons with disabilities at a minimum of 33% of the total amount, as well as victims of gender violence, and returning emigrants. 

Financial support for the self-employed—and for self-employed contributors—and non-contributory support, like the Spanish Basic Living Income, have recently been put in place. The latter was created to lower the risk of poverty and social exclusion for people who live alone or belong to a housing complex and lack the financial means necessary to cover their basic needs.

Your money at N26

Whether you’re employed or searching for your dream job, N26 is here to help you manage your money with ease. Our N26 Standard account is completely free, while premium subscriptions like N26 You, Business You and N26 Metal accounts offer perks like extensive insurance and innovative saving and budgeting features. Need to save money? We’re here to help—track your incomings and outgoings with Statistics and instant notifications for every single transaction. Plus, N26 is a collaborating entity with the Spanish Social Security, which means that all N26 customers can collect their entitled benefits on their N26 account and pay some taxes such as the self-employment tax using it.

If you have any questions our Customer Support specialists are happy to assist you—in five different languages. Visit our compare page today and find the plan that’s right for you.

By N26

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