Unemployment insurance – What is unemployment insurance?

Unemployment insurance form on a table.

Unemployment insurance is a temporary income that a worker receives when he has involuntarily lost his job and meets the requirements regulated by law.

Although the first social insurance for workers dates back to the end of the 19th century, it was not until the first third of the 20th century when the first unemployment insurance began to be approved in the most industrialized countries of Western Europe.

Unemployment insurance or unemployment benefit is understood as a temporary income that a worker receives when he has involuntarily lost his job.

To receive it, you must meet other requirements such as having contributed a minimum time to Social security and express your willingness to look for a new job.

The requirements as well as the extent of the insurance vary from country to country, with the most generous countries being Scandinavian countries, Germany and France.

Although initially it designed for salaried workers or employed, the autonomous also benefit in many countries unemployment benefit.

How to apply for unemployment insurance in Spain?

In Spain, unemployment insurance must be applied for at the offices of the SEPE (Public State Employment Service). The unemployment insurance requirements are as follows:

  • Be registered with Social Security.
  • Have contributed a minimum of 360 days in the last six calendar years.
  • Having terminated the employment relationship by dismissal , end of contract or by employment regulation file (ERE) .

The request can be made at the closest SEPE office or electronically. The necessary documentation is as follows:

  • Photocopy of the DNI.
  • Photocopy of the family book (if you have a family).
  • Company certificates that prove the quotation basis of the last 180 days listed.
  • Bank account number to make the payment of the benefit.

How to collect unemployment while being autonomous?

The self-employed are also entitled to collect unemployment benefit. To apply for self- employment, the following unemployment insurance requirements must be met:

  • Be registered in the Special Regime for Self-Employed Workers (RETA) .
  • Be up to date in the payment of the self-employed fee .
  • Have contributed at least 360 days before the activity ceases.
  • Having ceased activity and being willing to rejoin the job market.

It should be noted that, although the self-employed worker is a legally recognized right, in reality the self-employed have serious difficulties for their application to be accepted. In fact, the majority of applications are rejected by Social Security.

Can you collect unemployment and work as a freelance?

In Spain it is possible to become autonomous and continue to collect unemployment . There are two options:

  • Collect unemployment during the first nine months of activity (this is the limit established by law).
  • Capitalize 100% of unemployment to start the activity, either for a single or monthly payment.

In addition, the self-employed can recover the unemployment they had during the two years following the cessation of activity. The self-employed under 30 years have a term of 5 years.


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