Living and working in Spain as an Autonomo can be a costly exersize when you take into account the various taxes and contributions that you are obliged to make.
It can also be confusing in times of sickness or incapacity with regards to knowing exactly what benefits you are entitled to claim from the state.
As such we asked Raquel Perez from Perez Legal Group to tell us more about the situation....
As from January 1st, 2008, self-employed workers (Autonomos) who chose not to contribute towards temporary disability benefits, should carry it out on a voluntary basis, except if they were in the situation of having more than one source of employment and therefore qualifying by means of another scheme.
The provision of sickness benefit is recognized in the same terms and conditions as the General social security regime, with the following particularities:
Declaration of status of the activity : In addition to the General requirements, the situation of IT worker must be filed with the INSS (or the industrial mutual accidents and professional illnesses department of the Social Security office), with which has concluded the contingency of IT, statement on the official model on the individual to directly manage the commercial, industrial, establishment or otherwise of which they are owners or, where appropriate, temporary or permanent termination of the activity developed.
Presentation : Must be made within 15 days of the date of the`baja´(official declaration of sickness by a Doctor).
As long as the status of IT, the worker will be obliged to submit a copy of the`baja´ every 6 months, from the date of receipt of the original sick note, if it requested to do so. Being unable to produce a copy of the baja, will result in the suspension of benefit payments. Additionally, relevant proceedings may be initiated to verify the nature of the sickness and the entitlement of the claim for benefits.
Declaration of status of the activity : The worker claiming the benefit must file their claim with the National Social Security Institute (or the industrial mutual accidents and professional illnesses department of the Social Security office) with the contingency of temporary disability, statement on the official form on the individual to directly manage the mercantile establishment which has concluded industrial or other nature of which they are owners or, where appropriate, temporary or permanent termination of the activity developed.
Minimum contribution period : The claimant must have made 6 Months contributions in the period immediately preceding the date of the Baja.
Amount : The financial value of any claim for sickness benefit shall be calculated by applying the rate of the contributions made by the employee for the month prior to the baja, divided by 30. This calculation will be maintained throughout the duration of the claim, including any relapse, unless the claimant had opted to contribute a lesser amount, in which case will be taken into account.
Percentage : If it is derived from common illness (or not a work-related accident) : 60%, which must be paid from the 4th day of the illness to the 20th date of the Baja, both dates being inclusive.
75% being payable from the 21st day of the baja.
If the illness is as the result of an accident at work or occupational disease, then 75% of the base figure must be paid from the original baja date, provided that the claimant had opted for coverage of occupational contingencies.
Temporary disability and cessation of activity : Workers who are receiving providing temporary disability at the time of termination of the activity, will continue to receive that benefit unless there is a cause of extinction of the same.
Duration of claim : A claim can be made for a maximum of 12 Months. This may then be extended by a further 6 months if the Doctor feels that there is the chance that a full recovery may be made within this period - otherwise the claimant would be ruled as being `Permanently incapable of working´.
Continued Payment of Contributions : Any Autonomo worker wishing to claim sickness benefit must continue to make payment of their contributions for the duration of their claim.
Thanks again to Raquel Perez from Perez Legal Group for clarifying this situation.