El Paro – Unemployment Benefit in Spain

Not everyone can claim unemployment benefit or ‘El Paro’. In Spain you must have contributed into the system and the amount you receive is dependent on various factors.

Here we give basic information applying to most people, however if you have a special situation or further questions, you can find more information on their website.

El Paro – To qualify?

  • Must have a social security number (número de seguridad social)
  • Must have worked for a minimum of 360 days on contract
  • Must have lost your job involuntarily
Social security number

Most people will have received a little paper card or letter from the Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales which has your name, social security number and DNI or NIE typed onto it, otherwise, your social security number will appear on your work contract and on each payslip.

Employed for 360 days

To be able to claim unemployment benefit, you must have worked on contract for a minimum of 360 days (días cotizados) over the last six years. The 360 days does not have to be continual and it doesn’t even have to be for the same employer during this time.

Involuntary loss of work

El Paro can only be claimed in the following circumstances

  • Your work contract comes to an end and your employer decides not to continue it,
  • You are sacked from your position
  • Your hours are reduced by more than a third

*If you decide to leave employment, then you can’t make a claim.

Starting a Claim

To receive El Paro from the first day after your contract ends, you must present all the required documentation within 15 working days of your termination date at your nearest SEPE (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal) office.

If you know your contract is about to end, you can apply for an appointment while you are still employed just make sure that the date of your appointment is after the last working date specified on your contract.

How long can you claim for?

El Paro can be claimed from 4 months up to a maximum of 2 years. The length is determined by contributions accumulated during the previous 6 years.

The general rule is that for every year worked you can claim a total of four months unemployment benefit.

For self-employed workers and those working part time the amount payable and the length for which it can be claimed is different, visit the INEM website more details.

How much will you get?

Factors that will determine how much unemployment benefit you will be paid include the number of children, whether you have claimed before in the past and how much you were earning each month when you were employed, taking the average figure from the last six months.

As a rule, it will be 70% of the gross amount of your monthly wage for the first six months. After this, the percentage drops down to 50% of your monthly wage amount.

The minimum and maximum amounts that you can claim, are as follows:

Minimum without children: 497,00€ – Maximum without children: 1087,20€

Minimum with children: 664,74€ – Maximum with one child: 1242,52€

Maximum with two or more children: 1397,84€

Unemployment subsidy

A small subsidy is available for some people even though they may not have worked a full year, or if their unemployment benefit period has run out and they are still out of work. It is best to check to see whether you are eligible. This is a fixed amount of 426€ per month.

The Process

  • Make an appointment to get your Demanda/Tarjeta del Paro, you need your DNI/NIE and this can be done over the phone (Tel: 012) or online using the link below selecting the option ‘Demanda’. This is the first step and essential as you cannot claim any benefit, subsidy or training scheme without it and is proof of your unemployment.


You will need to take your original DNI/NIE, passport and a mobile telephone number to the appointment. You will be asked a few questions regarding your profession, driving license etc. lasting no more than 10 minutes and will be handed your Demanda/DARDE.

  • Make an appointment to present all documentation to SEPE office. Again you can do this over the phone (Tel: 901 010 210, not free) or online using the link below, you will need your DNI/NIE and post code and you should check the following box ‘Solicitudes de prestaciones contributivas, subsidios y PREPARA’.


To save time, you can download and complete the application form to take with you to the appointment.


You should also take with you the following:

  • Certificado de empresa – you should have be given this at the end of your employment contract
  • The Demanda/Tarjeta del paro – handed to you at first appointment
  • The completed application form ‘Solicitud de prestación’ and a copy
  • Your NIE original and a copy (or DNI)
  • Your passport and a copy
  • Your bank account details
  • Your Libro de familia and a copy or your children’s birth certificates
  • Your two most recent payslips or nóminas

Full details of all benefits available including those for self-employed people and workers not meeting the above requirements can be found on the official website.


For independent advice regarding benefits, with frequently asked questions please visit the website below.


Rules and regulations change frequently. If you find any part of this process outdated or incorrect, please let us know so that we can update it for the benefit of others.