SPAIN Call them sirvientas (servants, but definitely not PC), muchachas (girls of whatever age), domésticas (yes, you're right), limpiadoras (cleaners) or whatever PC term you prefer, but from January 2, they have the same rights as any other employee. A new law that went into effect on that date says a number of things that will interest anyone who employs such a person for any amount of time - and anyone who is in that kind of domestic employment. Among other things, they must now have a proper, written employment contract that replaces the previous verbal version. Before the new law came into effect, there was no requirement for a formal contract and Social Security was usually paid by the employee, if at all. Now they must be paid the minimum wage, €8,000 a year plus the two traditional extras in June and December, which adds up to €8,979.60 divided into fourteen annual payments of €641,40 per month (except June and December which double this amount). This comes to about €172,68 per week full time. Plus Social Security. In an example from the Social Security office: if a cleaner comes in for three hours per week and is paid €10 an hour, it comes to about €120 per month. The Social Security payment on that will come to €16. But how to make these payments and get on the right side of the law?>>>
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Although the employee has indeed been employed maybe even for a number of years, the employer now needs to be registered as such officially. This takes place at the Tesorería de la Seguridad Social (Social Security Treasury), which is not the same as the local Social Security office, although they will probably be able to tell you where that is (if it's at a different place). Like all treasuries, they handle the money.
At the Tesorería the employer asks for a Código de Cuenta de Cotización, which opens an account with which to track the payments.
You will need to take along the written contract with the employee. This will detail the number of hours to be worked and the amount of payments. As with most bureaucratic stuff in Spain you will also need your passport, NIE number, the details of the employee and just about any other official document you possess (just in case!)
Once the account has been opened, the employee has a right to lots of other things, the principal of which is indemnity payments. The Social Security office tells us that the new contracts are usually defined as 'indefinite', which means that the employee will henceforth be protected by the same law that applies to all employees.
If he or she -this law also applies to gardeners and drivers, for instance- already has a contract, i.e. before the new law came into being, then he or she will be paid 7 days' salary for every year worked when leaving or being let go. If there was no contract, then the indemnity payment will be 12 days' salary for each year.
If all this sounds complicated - and even if it doesn't - we strongly advise you to seek help from a Spanish tax consultant (asesor fiscal) or a labour specialist (graduado social), often found together and possibly in one person at a good gestoría. It is probably not necessary to use a lawyer (abogado) - at least not initially, but you may have to look out for one if you get it wrong.