Calendar days of vacation for workers in Spain

Published on 28/02/2024

Calendar days of vacation for workers in Spain

Published on 28/02/2024

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Calendar days of vacation for workers in Spain

¿Are you in control of your vacations? Do you know how to calculate them? Are you aware of what the law says about natural vacation days? We’ll address your doubts below.

Annual vacations in Spain are mandatory and constitute a right for workers. In some companies, the timeframe for taking vacations must be agreed upon between the worker and the company, taking into account the provisions of the collective agreement in this regard.

Generally, these dates must be defined at least two months before their enjoyment, and the worker’s remuneration should not change during vacations, nor should individual production bonuses obtained through activity.

What does the law say about natural vacation days for workers? 

The regulatory framework is quite limited, so it is common for the topic of vacations to be a source of conflicts between companies and workers. Annual vacations are regulated by Article 38 of the Workers’ Statute, which states the following:

“Annual vacations.

  • The period of paid annual leave, not replaceable by economic compensation, will be agreed upon in the collective agreement or individual contract. In no case shall the duration be less than thirty natural days. 
  • The period or periods of enjoyment will be mutually agreed upon by the employer and the worker, in accordance with the provisions of the collective agreements on annual vacation planning. In case of disagreement between the parties, the social jurisdiction will set the date for enjoyment, and its decision will be final. The procedure will be summary and preferential. 
  • The vacation schedule will be set in each company. The worker will know the corresponding dates at least two months before the start of the enjoyment.”

Companies are obligated to apply the corresponding collective agreement and cannot independently choose the agreement to apply. Any agreement that contradicts the provisions of Article 38 of the Workers’ Statute will be null and void.

To ensure that you are correctly exercising your right to enjoy your natural vacation days, it is essential to ensure that your company applies the collective agreement corresponding to your business and the location of the workplace.

What is meant by “natural days” of vacation?

Natural days are the 365 days in a year, and in the case of a leap year, there would be 366 natural days. The law explains that vacations consist of 30 days, including weekends and national and local holidays. For example, if an employee takes a week of vacation, all 7 days of the week are counted, even if they work from Monday to Friday.

The period of natural vacation days that an employee takes begins from the first day off until the day before returning, taking into account weekends and holidays within the chosen period.

But then you might wonder, how many vacation days does an employee have annually, excluding holidays and weekends? While the collective agreement depends on the sector to which the company belongs and will establish the number of natural vacation days to which each worker is entitled, generally, as mentioned before, there are expected to be 30 natural vacation days, which is approximately equivalent to 22 business days.

Business days, unlike natural vacation days, are those days that do not fall on a weekend – neither Saturdays nor Sundays – and are not holidays. These business days are considered valid for the development of work activities and, therefore, are officially counted as vacation days.

In Spain, business days are considered to be Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, as long as it is not a national or local holiday, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. If the employee works on weekends, their business days will be Saturday and Sunday.

Natural Vacation Days: How are they counted?

To understand how to count vacations in natural days, you must first be aware that the legal minimum for vacations is 30 natural days per year. However, certain collective agreements or employment contracts may increase this amount. Companies cannot reduce it but may add more days.

Understanding this variable, natural vacation days are obtained using a formula that states that for each month worked, each employee is entitled to 2.5 natural vacation days.

30 natural vacation days / 12 months of the year = 2.5 days

But if you prefer to count only business days, also known as working days, you should consider that for each month worked, each employee is entitled to 1.8 business days of vacation.

22 business days of vacation / 12 months of the year = 1.8 days of vacation per month.

If the employment contract is for less than a year, you can calculate the corresponding vacation days by multiplying the vacation days per month by the number of months to work. For example, if your contract is for 6 months, the calculation would be as follows:

6 months x 2.5 natural vacation days = 13.5 natural vacation days

6 months x 1.8 business days = 10.8 business days of vacation

Do all companies offer the same number of vacation days?

The month of vacation discussed so far is the one established by law, and no company can set fewer vacation days for its employees. However, some companies may offer extra days, either for all employees or a portion of them, and some companies provide additional days off as a reward for high productivity, details that need to be obtained directly from the company.

It’s also essential to be aware that if you don’t take vacations throughout the year, the company may pay them on the payroll, but only if they are mandatory vacations by law. The company is free to impose limitations on any extra vacation days offered unless other conditions have been stipulated in the contract.

The solution to calculate your team’s vacations

To keep track of the 30 natural vacation days, including business days and other types of days, the best way is to have an effective tool that allows you to register each collective agreement and automatically assign the corresponding days per employee. This way, the company’s work calendar will stay updated and organized.

WorkMeter’s time tracking software, features a comprehensive vacation manager that automates the process of requesting and validating various types of days for each employee: vacations, sick leave, permits, teleworking days, etc. This tool enables integration with payroll software.

In a straightforward manner, Human Resources managers can input the necessary types of days requested by each employee. Each type of day can have an annual limit according to the organization’s agreement.

The employee can keep track of the vacation days owed to them by the agreement, the days taken, and the remaining days without the need for manual calculations.

Time management software - free trial

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