Is negotiating the holidays of your employees a cause of friction in your company? Learn here all that you should know in order to get things clear from the beginning.
It is impossible to cover every possible case and when a dispute arises it might be necessary that a court decides. But it is certainly beneficial, in order to avoid getting to that extreme, to show a good measure of flexibility and willingness to negotiate. Find some common questions answered about the holidays entitlement in Spain.
How many days of holiday?
Generally speaking the holiday entitlement is one month per year, this is 30 days, including weekends.
This is the amount of holidays for a full time worker according to the general union agreement, the one which applies by default when there is no other specific.
In other cases, when there is another, this may state something different. ( For example, school teachers have many more vacation days!) In this post we will comment on the content of the general agreement.
In some cases it is convenient to compute the holidays in terms of working days, rather than natural days ( this latter meaning counting weekends too)
If the holidays are taken by days or short periods, the month vacation can be divided in the number of working days that, according to the work contract, a regular month has for that employee.
In a Monday-to-Friday contract, a calendar month of 30 natural days has an average of 22 working days.
A worker under this conditions who takes his holidays by days (that is 2 days now and 3 days next week) would be entitled to 22 days per year.
Notice though that the number of working days depends of the conditions of the contract.
This is clear to see if we take it to an extreme: for example, a DJ may be employed by a pub to work every Friday night and only then. Is this DJ entitled to 22 working days per year? Certainly not! Since there are only 52 Fridays in a year, if that was the case, he would be on holiday for nearly half the year! His holiday entitlement would be 4 working days, i.e the number of Fridays in a natural month.
The number of days for a shorter period has to be proportional to the yearly figures. That leaves an entitlement of 5.5 days of holidays for a 3 month contract.
This example makes clear that some calculations, and negotiation, are needed. This is better to be agreed at the beginning of the working period, along with the next point.
When should holidays be taken?
The company can set some days of the year for compulsory holidays, like one week closing in Christmas or summer holidays.
The employee is not free in every case to decide when he should leave for vacations. The holiday period must be applied for and then authorized by the company.
For example, school teachers have clearly defined holiday periods and they are not free to take it in any other period.
In other cases, the time to leave may be more flexible but it always needs to be approved.
If the company has a regular closing period, like one week at Christmas time or 2 weeks in August, it can ask its employees to take their holidays during that period and leave what remains of the entitlement for free choice.
The union agreement of each trade may contain specific information regarding the holiday entitlement.
Legally an employee has until the 15th of January to enjoy his holidays. Of course the company has to provide the means to make this possible. If despite all, the days are not taken, company and employee can agree to add the remaining days to the following year’s holiday entitlement.
This is not compulsory for the company if the necessary flexibility was provided for the worker to choose. This means essentially that holidays not taken by the 15th of January are lost unless the company agrees otherwise.
The worker cannot demand to be paid for his non-enjoyed holidays. Actually this is not legal.
Non-enjoyed holidays are only paid in case of the ending of a contract, along with the redundancy payment.
National Holidays in addition to 2 local holidays are added to the number of vacation days of a worker.
The general union agreement does not contemplate “puentes” ( taking an additional day off between two proper holidays. For example, the 7th of December is a traditional national ‘puente’). If the company decides to close in a puente the middle day has to be deducted from the employees’ holidays .
Days off for other reasons.
There are other major, unavoidable, issues that make an employee miss a day of work.
The general union agreement allows 40 days for maternity, 15 days for getting married, 3 days for death of a family member of first degree, and 3 days for other personal issues, such as an unchangeable medical appointment, attending a request of presence by an authority,…
If these days are used and a longer period is needed, you may negotiate to deduct them from the holiday entitlement.
Needless to say that refusing to go to work without proper justification is sufficient reason for a “dismissal for objective reasons”.