Social security in Spain

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The social security system (Spanish: seguridad social) in Spain is its principal system of social protection. The concept of social security first appeared in Spain in 1883 under the Committee for Social Reform, it was expanded several times during the twentieth century and finally the right to social security was enshrined in the Spanish Constitution of 1978 under Article 41 which states "that the public authorities shall maintain a public social security system for all citizens, guaranteeing sufficient support and social benefits in situations of need, especially in the event of unemployment, and that the support and additional benefits shall be free".


Social security was first examined under the Liberal government of Posada Herrera, who set up a government commission to examine Social Reform in October 1883.[1] 1900 Labour Accidents Act; 1919 Worker Retirement; Obligatory Maternity Insurance 1923; Forced Unemployment Insurance 1931; Obligatory Old-Age and Disability Insurance (SOVI) 1947;Social Security Bases Act 1963; General Social Security Act of 1966.

1978 Spanish Constitution[edit]

The right to social security was enshrined in Article 41 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 and envisages a varied system of benefits structured on three levels: basic social security, assistance to cover professional and employment categories and supplementary benefits.

Moreover, article 149.1.17 ª provides that the State has exclusive jurisdiction over basic legislation and financial regulation of the social security system, without prejudice to the performance of its services by the autonomous communities.

As an important piece of evolving legislation, social security in Spain is regulated by Royal Decree 1 / 1994 of June 20, by adopting the text of the General Law on Social Security (BOE of 29). This regulation has been amended on numerous occasions.


The Spanish social security system is structured as follows:

1. General regulations, as most widely applied plus supplemental (stop-gap) others;
2. Special regulations that assess professional occupations by their nature, particular conditions of time and place or the nature of production processes:
1. Agriculture,
2. Self-employed,
3. Domestic employees,
4. Coal miners
5. Port and sea workers
6. Civil Servants (Muface)

Membership and Contributions[edit]

Membership is obligatory, unique and covers the entire life of the person included in the system.

Levels of security must reflect the initial and subsequent contributor's working life.

Contributions (or payment of fees) are required from the commencement of a work activity (whether or not they have affiliated formally, at whatever level).

Class Category Minimum Ceiling Employer Employee
Pension & Accident Unemployment Insolvency Training Pension & Accident Unemployment Insolvency Training
1 Post Graduates €1,051.1 €3,425.7 23.6% 5.5% 0.2% 0.6% 4.7% 1.55% 0.1%
2 Graduates & professionals €872.1 €3,425.7
3 Administrative €758.7 €3,425.7
4,5,6 & 7 Non qualified €753 €3,425.7
8,9,10 & 11 Under 18 & Labourers €25.1 €114.9

Scope of Protection[edit]

The purpose of social security is to guarantee to those people who fall within the scope of the act, (those who carry out an occupational activity, or that meet the requirements of the non-contributory category, such as family members or dependants for whom they have responsibility), adequate protection against those contingencies and situations contemplated by the law.

The scope of the act for the contributory category, includes those Spanish nationals who reside in Spain, and non-Spanish citizens who are residing or are staying legally in Spain, provided that in both cases they are carrying out their activities on Spanish national territory, and covers:

  • Employees
  • Self-employed or sole proprietor businesses
  • Members of Associated Work Co-operatives
  • Students
  • Civil Servants

Protection provided by social security will include (cover):

  1. Healthcare (primary or hospitalisation) in the case of maternity, common, occupational illness or accidents, whether or not occupational;
  2. Professional care for said illnesses or accidents;
  3. Benefits for the following:
  • Temporary incapacity
  • Maternity
  • Death and survival
  • And for both contributory and non-contributory schemes:
  • Invalidity
  • Retirement
  • Unemployment
  1. Employment retraining, rehabilitation of invalids and assistance for senior citizens;
  2. Also, in addition to the above, other social service benefits.

In practice the non contributory category is understood to cover Spanish nationals resident in Spain.

The social security reserve fund for year ending 2007 was €45,715 million euros.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]