The Spanish government has implemented a law to extend the duration of paternity leave in the case of childbirth, adoption or foster care as of January 1, 2017. The law was originally introduced in 2009; however, the implementation had been delayed since the 2011 state budget due to the financial crisis in Spain, according to the government.

The implementation is part of a policy to improve family life in Spain, currently an important topic of national discussion. Other proposed measures include aligning working hours with the rest of Europe, i.e., moving away from the practice of long midday siestas, followed by working well into the evening.


As of January 1, 2017, paternity leave provisions are as follows:

  • Paternity leave increased from 13 calendar days to four weeks.
  • Leave continues to be provided at 100% of covered pay, provided by social security.
  • Leave can be taken either full- or part-time, at a minimum rate of 50% of regular working time.
  • Two days of birth leave, separate from the paternity leave and paid for by the employer, are still provided to new fathers, with an extra two days added per child for multiple births, adoptions or foster care. There is no change to maternity leave, which is still 16 weeks long, nor is there any change to employer or employee social security contributions.


Willis Towers Watson data from 2016 show that only 3% of companies surveyed in Spain provided paid paternity leave in excess of the statutory minimum of 13 days. Therefore, most companies with operations in Spain will have to review their policies on paternity leave to bring them in line with the new statutory minimum and review the financial implications of the new law.