The laws are the writen rules aproved by the different goverments or international institutions. The main labour law in Spain is The Workers Statute.

Labour Law Sources

Formal sources:

International legislation

– European legislation: These are legislative acts of the Europen Union that become immediately as a law in all member states simultaneously.

– European directives: The member states of the EU are obliged to reach the results that are stipulated in the directives. The member states are free to choose the ways and the means used to reach these results.

The Spanish Constitution of 1978

The constitution contains fundamental rights, and freedoms of citizens and the basic principles of the economic social policy. It is the supreme rule of law within the legal system.

Organic Act

The Organic act is a specific type of law. Regulates important subjects and requires an absolute majority.

Ordinary Act

Regulates other matters that organic laws do not regulate. They require a simple majority of both the Congress and Senate.

Decree Act

This is a rule of law issued by the Government in excepcional and urgent situations. This cannot affect basic institutions of the state.

Legislative Decree

Are Goverment regulations, They are also treated as a law.

Ministerial Orders

These are rules of a lower status that are made by the different ministeries.

Labour relationships characteristics

Personal: The worker is the only one who can do the work. They cannot be replaced.

Voluntary: Everyone is free to accept a job or to leave one’s job. No one can force to anyone to do any work activity.

Work for others: Not self-employed. The company hires someone’s services under certin conditions and owns the result of the employee’s performance, taking business venture.

Dependent: The employer runs the company and the employee receives orders and acts under the employer’s management.

Paid: The employee performs work under certain conditions in return for remuneration.

Special labour relations: Domestic service, convicted offenders in jail, professional athletes, artists who work in public shows.

Non labour relations: Civil servants, comission agents, compulsory activities, volunteer work and jobs in family business.

General Principles of Law

If there are conflicts between the different laws or different sources, the General Principles of Law must be applied. There are different principles of law:

Hierarchy of norms: Standard of lower rank cannot contradict or violate the provisions of a standard higher rank.

Minimum norm: A lower norm can improve the labour conditions but it never can get worse.

Irrenounciability rights: A worker can never renounce to a recognised right, not even if there is a voluntary agreement.

Jurisprudence: They are sentences of the higher tribunals. In the spanish system they solve conflicts or unclear situations. Jurisprudence is not a law source.

Collective Agreement

Employers and the legal representatives of the workers, negotiate the terms and conditions of employment that leads to a collective agreement. Any collective agreement is only valid for a sector and usually, there is a collective agreement for any province.

Labour Contract

Is a bilateral agreement between a company and a worker. The workers must do their job and the company will have to pay for that job.

Uses and Customs

They are usually unwriten rules. They come from society uses and customs, generally related with the place or the industry.

Labour Courts

The Social Courts: Its jurisdiction extends throughout the province and is located in its capital. Judge individual disputes about labour statutory rights or contracs of employment, as well as collective disputes at a provincial level.

The Regional High Courts: It is the highest level of justice within each Autonomous Region of Spain. Appeals can be made through a process called “suplication” against sentences of the Social Courts.

National High Court (Audiencia Nacional): It is located in Madrid, with jurisdiction over the whole spanish territory and judges. Collective disputes that exceed regional level.

Tribunal Supremo: It is the highest level of justice in the spanish judiciary. It’s based in Madrid and its jurisdiction extends throughout the spanish territory and over all judicial matters. Appeals are heard by the TS making a final decision against sentences.

Labour Administration

Labour Administration deals with the development of the labour law, its implementation and control.

– Employment and Social Security Ministry

– The Autonomous Regions Labour Agencies

The Labour Inspection: This is a State Administration Body whose aim is to guarantee that Labour is upheld. Its functions are:

– To inspect and penalize offences against labour law and health and safety at work

– To advise both employers and employees about their rights and duties

– To issue reports of industrial accidents

– To adopt health and safety measures to protect workers health

SEPE: Helps and gives guidance on job-hunting, professiona training and setting up a business.



Fogasa: It takes the responsibility for non-paid salaries and compensations caused by the employers insolvency.

Rights and Duties of Workers and Employers

Workers rights:

– The right to strike

– The right to assemble in the workplace

– The right to be informed, to consult and to participate in the company

– The right to vocational training at work

– The right to be promoted within the company

– The right to have an effective occupation

– The right not to be discriminated against

Workers duties:

– The employee must comply with health and safety measures

– The employee must comply with the orders and instructions of the employer

– The worker should help to improve the company’s productivity

Employers rights:

– To choose where, when and how to carry out the work activity

– To change employee’s duties in the workplace and other work conditions

– To guard and control the employees work activities. Has the authority to penalise the employee in case of non-fulfilment

Employers duties:

– To pay salary punctually

– To respect workers personal privacy

– To give tasks belonging to the professional category

– To plan risk prevention in the workplace

Spanish Labour Legislation

– Texto refundido del estatuto de los trabajadores

– Ley org├ínica de libertad sindical

– Ley de prevenci├│n de riesgos laborales

– Ley de infracciones y sanciones en el orden social