The notice requirements on termination of labour contracts in Spain

At the moment the movement of labour in our job market is becoming more frequent, the implication of which is the continual creations and extinction of labor agreements and contracts of employment.

In view of this situation many employers, companies and workers need to consider whether or not there is an obligation to give notice of termination of a contract of employment and whether or not they are obliged to comply with any notice periods referred to.

Where the labour relationship is being terminated by the employee, he is obliged to comply with the notice requirements established in the Collective Agreements or in their individual contract.

What are the consequences of non compliance?

The failure of an employee to give sufficient notice to his employer of his intention to terminate his employment could prejudice and cause damage to the company for which the company has a right to claim indemnification. However in practice this indemnity may be difficult to achieve if there is no written express provision for this in the contract of employment.

The majority of the Collective Agreements contain the consequences of termination of employment in the absence of notice, it being the most common consequence to deduct payment from employees for the period for which no notice was given.

However, in relation to the termination of Special Contracts of Employment the notice provisions in specific regulations must be complied with. For example Royal Decree 1382/85, which governs the employment relationship with senior management, establishes a minimum of 3 months notice, up to a maximum of six months if it can be proved in writing that the contract was an Indefinite Contract or that the contract was for a period of more than 5 years.

On the other hand, if termination of the employment relationship is the decision of the employer the notice period itself is regulated depending on the circumstances of termination.

In the case of Dismissal for economics causes the employer must provide notice of at least 15 days. In this situation the employee has the right to 6 paid hours per week to look for new employment.

Finally, in the case of a Disciplinary Dismissal no period of notice is required.

What are the consequences of non compliance?

The main consequence for the employer in not complying with its obligation to provide sufficient notice of termination of employment is to pay the employee for the period for which no notice was given.

In summary, the minimum period of notice required for termination of employment in Spain is 15 days; however this notice period may be extended by contract or by reference to Collective Agreements. Whether this period can be considered insufficient or excessive depends on which country to which it is compared. While in the United States an employer can dismiss an employee without notice, in Denmark the minimum notice period required is 90 days.

This article is not considered as legal advice