The two extra salaries in Spain


It’s been two months since I wrote my last article, and today I will blame Denmark and Sweden! Just kidding, these lovely countries have nothing to do with my laziness.

I visited both about a month and a half ago: wonderful places with interesting and different life styles in comparison with Spain. I forgot it is very cold as well. It was all the time between 12º and 17º Celsius (53º and 62º Fahrenheit). That is practically our winter in this area of Spain!

Anyway, today I’m going to briefly talk about the two extra salaries in Spain. I’m surprised that almost none of my clients, or people from other nationalities I’ve met here, don’t know about this.

The extra salaries in Spain are two additional payments that people get around July and December. So, let’s say that you make 1,000 Euros a month in Spain. You will make 2,000 Euros in July and another 2,000 Euros in December. Rest of the year just 1,000 Euros. That’s the way it works in most places, although some companies include the two extra salaries in your monthly salary (you would be making around 1,150 Euros a month in this case).

According to what I’ve been able to find, the extra salary in December was created during the dictatorship, around 1945, just a few years later after the Spanish civil war. People were doing very badly back then and it was a way of rewarding their annual effort as well as to celebrate Catholic Christmas.

It seems the extra salary of July was created around 1947, again during the dictatorship. And it basically had the same goal: help the families against the deep economic crisis that the country was going through.

Nevertheless, last year, 2012, our current Spanish government decided to stop the December extra salary for those who work for national institutions, including doctors, firefighters, policemen, etc. This is just one of the measures taken to decrease the financial crisis and has created a huge controversy. That’s all I can say. Politics is not my territory.

In theory, those private companies that were paying the two extra salaries in Spain, before the government cut off the public ones, should have not stopped paying them.

I have to admit it: getting an extra salary was great – a big bunch of extra Euros in your account (Pesetas before the Euro… hey, I should probably write an article about Pesetas, at the bottom of this article you can see how they looked). However, it’s a lot better having your own business and not having a boss, even though you go through lots of ups and downs, and have no extra salaries, of course. But that’s only my opinion.

Did you know about the two extra salaries in Spain? Do you have more precise information about them? I’ll be glad to read your comments.


Image credit Elliott Brown

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  1. ann says

    Hi David,
    I have not heard of this before but a Spanish friend who is retired told me that they get an extra payment around December and I can’t remember if she mentioned any other time of year . The nearest we come to it in England is that you often got a Christmas bonus from your employers I am not sure if that is still the case now though. I would certainly be very happy to get two extra payments of my pension a year but I think we are more likely to see a decrease rather than an increase .keep writing the articles David , it’s always good to learn something new.
    kind regards Ann

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Ann,

      I’m glad you liked it! Pensioners also get the two extra payments in Juny and December. Fortunately, they have not touched anything from pensioners, neither the amount of money nor any of the extra payments.

      Best wishes,


  2. BB says

    I think the term “extra” is a bit misleading as the salary or pension is divided into fourteen and paid monthly with the extra two paid as you state. Anyone paid hourly on a short contract gets a higher rate to compensate for this.It is a strange idea, but it is nice to receive the extra for summer holidays and Christmas. Did Franco make the employers pay extra, or change the way they paid the agreed wages/salaries? It seems to be an enormous burden to make employers find an extra 20%, or were the employees grossly underpaid? Perhaps Franco was not that bad!

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi BB,

      You’re right. In fact, many companies don’t pay the “extras” but put them in your monthly payment. That way, you think you’re making more. Anyhow, it’s just a psychological game in my opion :-)

      That is a good question. I would need to make a deeper research to know how employers were able to increase that 20%. Although, being in a dictatorship, I don’t think it was that difficult: “you pay the extras, yes or yes”.

      Best wishes,