The contributory unemployment benefit (commonly known as “Paro” in Spain) is the amount that the beneficiary will receive based on the contributions made during their active period.

The benefit includes both a monthly amount and social security contributions for the duration of said benefit.

Download the Contributory Benefit Information Sheet

What is the Contributory Unemployment Benefit or Paro?

It is an unemployment benefit that is called “contributory” because the amount to be collected and the time during which it will be collected depend on the unemployment contributions that the worker has accumulated. The more contribution, the more benefit is received.
These unemployment benefits should not be confused with non-contributory unemployment benefits (or “subsidios por desempleo” as called in Spain), which are non-contributory benefits, that is, aids, since they are intended for those who lack income. The State Public Employment Service (SEPE, formerly INEM) pays both of these unemployment benefits.

Requirements to apply for the Contributory Unemployment Benefit (Paro)

  1. To have contributed for unemployment at least for 360 days in the 6 years prior to becoming unemployed and that these contributions have not been used to previously request another benefit or subsidy. If the worker is unemployed and does not get to have these contributions, they would have to request a subsidy or extraordinary aid.
  2. Be in a legal unemployment situation. It means “to be in Paro”. The law only allows this unemployment situation (Paro) to be requested in very specific situations. You must have lost a job for reasons beyond the worker’s control, such as a dismissal (individual or collective, appropriate or unfair), the end of a temporary contract or probationary period, the suspension, reduction, or termination of an ERE (Employment Regulation File), end of the contract due to the death, retirement or incapacity of the employer, due to the total permanent incapacity of the worker for their usual profession, etc. A voluntary discharge, for example, does not allow one to apply for an unemployment benefit afterward.
  3. To be registered (or in a situation assimilated to that of affiliation) in a regime that contemplates unemployment benefits, usually the general Social Security system. There are special cases in which there is no right to unemployment benefits, such as household employees, or self-employed workers who have not voluntarily opted for the contribution due to cessation of activity.
  4. To be registered as a job seeker  ( and as being unemployed) and sign the activity commitment
  5. Not to be of retirement age or self-employed, save for the exceptions provided for in the law.

How much will I get with the contributory benefit?

What is collected is a percentage of the worker’s regulatory base, which is the first concept to be calculated.

(I) Calculation of the regulatory base

The regulatory base is the average of the bases of work accidents and occupational diseases (excluding overtime pay) corresponding to the last 180 days paid prior to the legal unemployment situation or at the time when the obligation to contribute ceased. Put in a simpler way: the daily average of the employee’s contribution bases during the last six months of contributions is what is calculated.

(II) Calculation of the percentage

Once the regulatory base of the worker is known, for example, € 30/day, the unemployment benefit pays a percentage of that regulatory base.

During the first six months, the daily amount to be received will be 70% of the worker’s regulatory base.

From the seventh month (day 181), this benefit is reduced and only 50% of the base is received.

By law, the maximum and minimum amounts that can be earned for the contributory benefit are established every year. For 2019 the minimum amount of the contributory benefit without children was €501.98 and with one or more children, €671.40. The maximum amount without children is €1,098.09, with one child €1,254.96, and with two or more €1,411.83. These maximum and minimum amounts are reduced proportionally when there are part-time contracts.

In the case of unemployment due to the loss of a part-time contract job, the minimum or maximum amount is calculated based on the number of hours worked during the period of the last 180 days of contributions.

The State Public Employment Service has an online automatic calculation program of the benefit so that by entering some data you can make a simulation of what will be received for the benefit. It is available at this link.

For how long can I collect my unemployment benefit?

You can receive it for a minimum of four months and a maximum of two years. It all depends on the contributions that the worker has accumulated over the last 6 years. The more days of accumulated contributions, the longer you will receive this unemployment benefit.

Days of contributionDays of benefits received
From 360 to 539 days of contribution120 days of benefit
From 540 to 719 days of contribution180 days of benefit
From 720 to 899 days of contribution240 days of benefit
From 900 to 1079 days of contribution300 days of benefit
From 1080 to 1259 days of contribution360 days of benefit
From 1260 to 1619 days of contribution420 days of benefit
From 1440 to 1619 days of contribution480 days of benefit
From 1620 to 1799 days of contribution540 days of benefit
From 1800 to 1979 days of contribution600 days of benefit
From 1980 to 2159 days of contribution660 days of benefit
From 2160 days of contribution720 days of benefit

A rule of thumb to remember how long this contributory unemployment benefit lasts is “one month of unemployment for every three months of contributions”.

Contributions that had been used for a previous benefit or subsidy are not taken into account, i.e., you cannot use the same contribution to receive two grants.

In the case of having worked part-time, each day worked is considered a day of paid contributions, regardless of the working day. If with the part-time contract you worked 5 or more days a week, the contribution period will be equal to the duration of the contract. If the working day is distributed in less than 5 working days per week, the total number of days will be multiplied by the coefficient 1.4.

While this benefit is being collected, is it being contributed to Social Security?

Yes. You can pay your contributions while you are receiving the contributory benefit. The SEPE pays 100% of the business contribution to Social Security and on the other hand, the worker also pays his quota, which is 4.7% of the regulatory base.  The SEPE pays everything to Social Security and the worker’s part is deducted from the payroll of this benefit, in addition to the corresponding Personal Income Tax (IRPF).

Necessary documentation

1) To request the economic benefit it is mandatory to have the unemployment card

2) Complete the official application form for the contributory benefit

3) Valid identification documents (DNI, NIE, or passport) of the applicant and of the children who live with or are dependent on them and who appear in the application (it will be enough with the exhibition of the documents), and the Family Book or the equivalent document in the case of foreigners, legalized and translated.

4) The company certificate of all the companies in which they have worked during the last six months. The truth is that most companies send it electronically to the SEPE and do not personally deliver it to the worker (find out more information about the company certificate information). Only in the event that the company does not send it to the SEPE, the worker would need to have it, signed and sealed, at the time of making the request for the benefit.

5) Part-time work contracts that you have had in the last 6 years prior to their termination. This is usually necessary to calculate the number of days of paid contributions due to the fact of having worked part-time.