Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Spain - Temporary incapacity

This chapter explains what you are entitled to as an employee in the event you have a common illness or a non-occupational accident and have to stop work temporarily.

Below we tell you about:

  • Allowance for temporary incapacity (prestación por incapacidad temporal) (caused by a common illness or non-occupational accident).

When can you apply for these?

In Spain, if you fall ill and have to stop working temporarily, you can claim an allowance for temporary incapacity. It will enable you to cover the loss of your daily income while you are off work, in addition to receiving healthcare.

You can apply for the allowance for any common illness or non-occupational accident, provided three days have passed since the start of the illness or the time of the accident. You can receive the allowance for a maximum of 365 days, extendable for a further 180 days if it is envisaged you will recover during this period.

What requirements must you meet?

Whether you are an employee or are self-employed, you should meet these requirements to benefit from the allowance in the event you fall ill or are temporarily incapacitated:

  • You are registered with Social Security and have paid contributions for a total of 180 days in the previous 5 years.
  • You have a common illness or have suffered a non-occupational accident which prevents you from working. You may receive the allowance from the 4th day after the start of the illness or the accident.

What are you entitled to and how can you apply for it?

Calculation of temporary incapacity benefit will vary depending on whether you are employed by someone else or self-employed:

Type of worker

Allowance from day 4 to day 20 of the sick leave (inclusive)

Allowance from day 21 on


60% of the calculation basis 

75% of the calculation basis

Self-employed worker

60% of the calculation basis

75% of the calculation basis

In order to receive support, you will need a medical examination and that a doctor from the Servicio Público de Salud (State Health Services) certifies your illness.

If you are an employee, the employer (once it receives your medical certificate within three days) will be responsible for applying for your sick leave and will pay the costs of the first fifteen days of the allowance. Thereafter, the Sistema Nacional de la Seguridad Social will bear the costs.

If you are self-employed, you should submit a statement of your work situation (temporary or definitive suspension or being carried out by another person). The Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social or the insurance company collaborating with Social Security, as the case may be, will pay the temporary incapacity allowance directly to you.

You can claim the allowance from the INSS or the insurance company using the application for temporary incapacity payment.

Jargon busters

  • Contributions: in order to be entitled to benefits from the Sistema de la Seguridad Social, “persons obliged” should pay regular contributions. This obligation commences when your working life starts.
  • Calculation basis: this is the result of dividing the amount of the worker’s contribution basis corresponding to the month before the illness by the number of days to which this contribution applies (this divider will actually be thirty, if the employee receives a monthly salary).

Documents you will need

  • Application for the allowance on temporary incapacity
  • Company certificate for the application to the allowance for temporary incapacity
  • Statement of activity from the self-employed
  • If you wish to express your disagreement with INSS, you can use this form.
  • If you disagree with the insurance company, you can use this form.

Find out about your entitlements

These links will help you to find out about your entitlements in Spain. They are not European Commission links and do not represent the opinion of the Commission:

Publications and web pages of the European Commission:

Who can you contact?

Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS)
C/ Padre Damián, 4
28036 Madrid
Tel. +34 915688300 
Fax +34 915640484
Web page: http://www.seg-social.es

Social Security Information Centres

If you want to obtain your insurance from an insurance company, you can consult the list of insurance companies collaborating with Social Security.

For any problem with your entitlement as a European citizen: EU welfare services.

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