The prestación por desempleo de nivel contributivo, commonly known as paro, is a social service that seeks to protect workers who have lost their jobs or have seen a sharp reduction in their work hours. Every worker who pays into the social security system contributes to this fund through their paycheck, at a rate that is usually less than 2%.
Everything related to the work world is regulated through the SEPE – el Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal.
Do I qualify for paro?
Most employers pay social security for their employees, and each day worked equals a día cotizado. When your contract is terminated you may be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits if you meet a few key requirements.
Those interested in applying for paro must have a social security number (this will be on your paycheck stub) and have been employed for a minimum of 360 days during the last six years. However, it’s not necessary that your 360 días cotizados be consecutive or with the same employer.
If you have worked for less than 360 days, you may still be entitled to a small subsidy, depending on the number of days and hours you worked.
In short, if you are on a scholarship like the Language and Culture Assistant Program, are self-employed, or have not been working the minimum amount of days, you do not qualify for compensation under the unemployment program. You are also not entitled to unemployment benefits if you voluntarily leave your job.
Where should I go to ask for paro? And when?
Once you’re officially dado de baja, or taken off payroll, you will be given a few documents: your finiquito (bonus for finishing a contract, in the event that you’ve not been fired but let your contract run its course), your certificado de empresa that is a tally of your working days and wages during your contract, and your last paycheck stub, called a nómina. You should also ask your employer if you have any vacation days to use up before you are elegible to apply for unemployment benefits.
Remember that you must apply for paro within 15 days of the termination of your contract. Those with paid vacation days can sign up within 15 days after their paid vacation days have run out.
The easiest way to get an appointment to sign up for paro is through the SEPE’s online cita previa platform. Simply put in your zip code and NIE number, and you’ll be assigned to the nearest SEPE office, as well as given a date and time. Make sure the date is after your final day of work, or you’ll be making an extra trip.
What do I bring with me to my paro appointment?
You should bring the following documentation to your cita:
- A valid NIE and copy
- Your passport and copy of information page
- A copy of the Solicitud de Prestación
- La Tarjeta del Paro (if you have one)
- Your last two paycheck stubs
- Certificado de Empresa or other document, stating you’ve been let go
- Any degrees obtained in Spain or legalized in Spain through homologación
- Your bank account details
If this is your first time signing up for the prestación, you’ll have to make two appointments, called a cita mixta in Andalucía. In your first appointment you’ll get a document called a Tarjeta del Paro, which is necessary for the second appointment, in which you hand in your documentation and give your bank details to receive your money.
If you have asked for unemployment before, ask for a cita previa: Solicitud de prestación contributiva – Reanudación. This is a single appointment to update your details and apply for the prestación.
How much money will I get? How long can I be unemployed for?
Each case is different, but the monetary compensation will depend on several factors: Do you have children? Have you asked for unemployment benefits in the past? Do you work part-time? How much money is claimed on your paycheck stub? Has your salary changed in the last six months?
The best way to find out approximately how much money you’ll receive and how many months you’re entitled to benefits is through SEPE’s online simulator.
During the first six months of the prestación, you have a right to claim 70% of the gross amount on your last paycheck. After six months, that amount drops to 50% for the duration of your unemployment months, or until you are hired and dada de alta in the social security system again.
I got hired. Now what?
Congratulations! Your employer will usually do all of the dirty work for you, but should you need to cancel your benefits, you can make an appointment at your nearest SEPE, choosing “Baja de Prestación” or calling SEPE’s hotline, 901 11 99 99.
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