Parental Leave: How does maternity leave and maternity pay work in Spain?

Article author
Mika Komatsuzaki
  • Updated

In this article, we will cover:

How maternity leave works in Spain

  • Pregnant employees are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave at 100% full pay of the mother’s base rate, funded by the social security system.

    • In addition to the mandatory 16 weeks of maternity leave, employees can request additional time off if medically necessary.
    • Of the 16 weeks of maternity leave, six uninterrupted weeks must be taken following the birth. The remaining 10 weeks can be taken all at once, or can be split across several leaves before the baby is 12 months old. The parental leave must always be taken in full weeks (7, 14, 21, 28 days etc).
    • For each additional child delivered, maternity leave increases by one week. 
    • The leave can also be extended in the following circumstances:
      • Extension of one week for each parent in case of disability of the child.
      • Extension for premature labor and hospitalization (for a period longer than 7 days) following delivery, up to a maximum of 13 weeks.
  • Maternity leave begins immediately upon delivery unless the employee chooses to take it prior. The employee can take up to four weeks of maternity leave leading up to the birth.

  • In order to be eligible for maternity leave, employees must have registered with the social security office and have made contributions for a minimum of 180 days during the prior seven years or a total of 360 days during their career.

    • Pregnant employees need to visit the healthcare center, with their Sistema Nacional de Salud  (National Health Service) user’s card.
  • One year of unpaid leave can also be granted after the employee has taken the paid leave as long as the mother’s job is guaranteed upon return. The mother may take an additional two years of unpaid leave, but the employer does not have to offer the employee her previous job upon her return to work.

  • Women have the right to one hour of absence from work each day to breastfeed an infant of less than nine months. The employee can also choose to accumulate these hours and instead take 15 consecutive days off after the maternity leave.

How maternity pay works in Spain

  • Maternity leave is fully paid for 16 weeks. 
  • Employees need to visit the healthcare center, with their Sistema Nacional de Salud (National Health Service) user’s card to receive this benefit.
  • For maternity and paternity leaves, the following things are needed:
    • This leave must be requested on the Remote platform using the Time off feature.
    • We will require the certificate of birth.
    • Mod145 (a Tax Agency form dedicated to personal income tax (IRPF)) is needed for the tax reduction once the new baby is born. Please upload this form to your Remote profile and send us an email to let us know at
  • The maternity pay is managed and paid by the Social Security System Health Insurance Fund. Employees are not paid a salary but instead a maternity benefit.

How nursing leave works in Spain

  • Following maternity/ paternity leave, employees can also take nursing leave. This leave can be used until the baby is 9 months old, and is considered normal working time, meaning that employees will receive their usual monthly salary.
  • Employees must notify their employer beforehand once they choose how to consume this leave from several options:
    • Take one hour off from a normal working schedule
    • Take one hour off from a normal working schedule, split into two 30-minute leaves
    • Take the accumulated leave of 15 calendar days. Please note: The leave might be prorated depending on when to take it, as it is conditioned by the employee's return from maternity/paternity leave and the age of the baby. For example, if the employee requests this leave when the baby is six months old, the employee will only be able to take the proportional time off corresponding to the 3 months until the baby is 9 months old.


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