Healthplan Spain


Can The Self-Employed In Spain Apply For Paid Sick Leave? Expat Tips

Being self-employed in Spain can be demanding, especially considering the country's rigorous regulations and financial obligations. However, unlike many other European countries, self-employed individuals in Spain have the advantage of being eligible for statutory sick pay.

This benefit offers a safety net for autónomos and freelancers who may encounter illness or accidents, providing them with both healthcare support and economic assistance during their recovery.

Eligibility and Requirements

To qualify for sick pay as a self-employed individual in Spain, certain criteria must be met. Firstly, you must be registered with the Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos (RETA), the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers that you would have joined when you first became a freelancer in Spain. Additionally, you must be up to date with all your Social Security payments. Lastly, you should have contributed to Social Security for at least 180 days within the five years preceding the illness or accident.

Sick Leave Process

In the event of illness or a non-work-related accident, self-employed individuals in Spain are entitled to receive sick pay from the fourth day of leave onwards.

To initiate the process, it is necessary to visit a doctor and obtain an official sick leave form if it is deemed necessary. Informing your Mutual Society, which provides coverage in such situations, is also essential. You can identify your Mutual Society by referring to the original RETA confirmation document you received upon registering as an autónomo.

Subsequently, you will need to complete an official Social Security document, stating the reason for your leave and providing an explanation of the situation. Unfortunately, this form cannot be submitted online, and you will need to physically visit the Social Security or Mutual Insurance offices to present it along with the required documentation. In cases where your illness prevents you from doing so, you may authorise another individual to act on your behalf, provided they present a certified photocopy of your identification card, such as your TIE.

Sick Pay Amount

For common illnesses or accidents unrelated to work, self-employed individuals in Spain are eligible to receive sick pay amounting to 60 percent of their self-employed regulatory base, which refers to their average monthly earnings. This payment is applicable from the fourth to the twentieth day of leave. If the illness persists beyond 20 days, the sick pay increases to 75 percent of the regulatory base.

Sick Pay Maximum Duration

When it comes to the duration of sick pay for self-employed individuals in Spain, there are specific guidelines to consider. The maximum period for which temporary sick leave can be granted is 12 months. During this time, individuals will typically receive sick pay based on their average monthly earnings.

However, it's important to note that the entitlement to sick pay beyond the initial 20 days of leave is subject to periodic medical check-ups. These check-ups aim to assess the individual's ongoing medical condition and verify their continued eligibility for sick pay.

In some cases, if the medical assessments indicate that the person's condition requires further time off work, an additional extension of up to six months may be granted. This extension is subject to evaluation and approval by the relevant authorities. It's worth mentioning that during this extended period, the individual will still need to provide medical documentation and undergo periodic medical evaluations to support their continued sick pay eligibility.

Overall, the duration of sick pay for self-employed individuals in Spain can reach up to 12 months, with the possibility of a six-month extension under specific circumstances. It's crucial to maintain communication with the Social Security system and adhere to the required medical evaluations to ensure a smooth continuation of sick pay benefits.

Continued Social Security Payments

During the first two months of sick leave, self-employed individuals must continue paying their social security fee, even though they are receiving sick pay. Consequently, the amount of sick pay received during this period may be reduced due to the necessary contribution fee. However, after the initial 60 days, there is no requirement to make social security payments while on sick leave.

Work-Related Accidents or Illnesses

In cases of disability resulting from work-related accidents or job-related diseases, the requirement for a prior Social Security contribution period is waived. Individuals affected by such circumstances are entitled to sick pay from the first day of their leave. Similar to non-work-related situations, it is important to consult a doctor, inform the Mutual Society, and complete the requisite forms from Social Security.


While being self-employed in Spain presents numerous challenges, the availability of sick pay provides a crucial safety net for autónomos and freelancers. By adhering to the specific requirements and following the necessary procedures, self-employed individuals can access financial support during periods of illness or non-work-related accidents. This system contributes to the overall well-being and stability of the self-employed workforce in Spain, offering them peace of mind and a measure of financial security during challenging times.