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Working in Spain: Working Time

Find out about the statutory working hours for employees in Spain...

Ordinary Working Day and Rest Periods

The duration of the working day shall be agreed through collective negotiations or within the contract itself. In any case, the maximum ordinary working day is 40 hours per week on average throughout the year. In principle this ordinary working day must be distributed in as even and regular a way possible throughout the day. However, collective agreements or individual agreements between the company and workers’ representatives may establish an irregular distribution of working hours throughout the year, as long as legal daily and weekly rest periods are respected.

Thus, generally speaking, the working day may not exceed 9 hours, (8 for workers under the age of eighteen), which must include a rest period of at least fifteen minutes.

At least twelve hours must elapse between the end of one working day and the beginning of the next one.

Workers are entitled to a minimum weekly rest time of one and a half uninterrupted days, which generally include Saturday afternoon or, where applicable, Monday morning, and the whole of Sunday.

The duration of the weekly rest time for people under 18 years of age is a minimum of two uninterrupted days.

Night work and shift work

All aspects of this work pattern are regulated and subject to time restrictions.

Under-18s may not carry out night work.

Reduction of the working day for family reasons

Workers are entitled to a reduction of their working time, with a proportional reduction in wages, if they are directly responsible for a child under six years of age, people with disabilities or family members in certain specific circumstances.


This means hours of work performed over and above the maximum number of normal working hours. Overtime is voluntary, unless agreed in a collective agreement or working contract, or when required to prevent or repair extraordinary or urgent damage.

Overtime at night is prohibited, except in duly specified and expressly authorised special activities. It is also prohibited for people under 18 years of age.

Overtime may be remunerated or compensated for with rest time.

Workers may work a maximum of 80 hours overtime per year.

If an employee works for fewer hours than the general company working hours, the restriction on hours is reduced proportionally.

Text last edited on: 08/2010

Source: European Union
© European Communities
Reproduction is authorised.
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