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Having a Baby in Spain - Part 5 - August

By Jo Green - Fri 14th Aug 2009

The biggest problem for us by far in August is the fact that most things shut down entirely for a whole month - in fact pretty much all manufacturing, Industry and commerce grinds to a complete halt for the whole of August and all that is really open are High Street Shops, Supermarkets and anyone directly concerned with the Tourist or Leisure Industry (Of course, you will find that nearly all Businesses operated by Ex-Pats function as normal) The reason that the Spanish can afford to take a full month off work is because in cases where they have a legal contract, most of the time they will be eligible for taking home 14 Months wage per year (Yep, 14!) – This is so that they can take a double Salary just before Christmas and a double Salary at the start of August so they can enjoy their Summer Holiday! Ex-Pat Companies rarely offer this scheme, and it has to be said that more and more Spanish companies are moving away from it aswell, but the tradition of taking the month of August off seems a little more difficult to shake off.

Becuase I work in the Travel & Holiday Industry, August is obviously a very busy time for me and as such it is almost impossible for me to have any time off work. The issue gets further complicated because our daughter’s nursery falls into this bracket - they are closed from 1st August to 1st September every year (In addition to the Various Local, Regional and National Fiestas , which in themselves total about 20 Days a Year). Fortunately my partner works from home for the majority of the time and so can usually juggle things around if needs be to look after her in the Mornings. So for 5 Mornings a week, 4 weeks of the year my Partner spends the mornings Looking after our Daughter until I am back from work, and then we switch over so he can work - usually long into the evening depending upon how much work he has to do. As a rule of thumb relatives and other visitors stay away in August – either due to them finding the heat too oppressive, it being too busy with Tourists or the fact that the cost of Flights has been hiked up to match demand - and as such we find ourselves without much respite.

It makes us very thankful that we have a very good Nursery that is local to us, and makes the 150 Euros per Month that we spend seem very, very reasonable. If only we could persuade them to open in August!

In September of 2010 our daughter will be 3 Years and 3 Months old and we will have the opportunity to send her to School if we wish (It is optional up to 5 years) and given that the majority of her friends will be moving on from Nursery at the same time it seems logical for us not to hold her back. Unfortunately the school Holidays here are even longer than in the UK (because we don’t have a half term break over here) and as such it will be necessary for us to make some other provision for childcare come August next year.

I can understand why so many Spanish mothers don’t work – or at least if they do work, they usually live in a “ Multi-Generation “ House, with Grandma and Grandad on hand all day every day to lend a hand with Cooking, cleaning and babysitting. Better get started on building that Granny Flat !

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