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It is now compulsory to register trainees with the Social Security system


With the enforcement of Royal Decree-Law 2/2023, March 16th, on 1st of January 2024, Spain has witnessed substantial changes in the regulation of Social Security for students engaged in external training or academic internships. These modifications, applicable to paid and unpaid internships, signify a paradigm shift in Spain.

Within this dynamic landscape, it becomes imperative to distinguish between trainee and intern roles. Traditionally, a trainee is immersed in learning a new skill or trade, often through hands-on training, with the involvement being either compensated or voluntary. In contrast, an intern participates in a structured program to provide practical exposure in a specific field, typically without monetary compensation, emphasizing observational learning.

To streamline our discussion throughout this article and avoid redundancy, we will specifically refer to both trainees and interns as “trainees” henceforth. This unifying term recognizes the shared regulatory adjustments affecting these categories under the recent legislative changes. Let’s explore this complexities regarding the figure of the trainee in the updated Social Security regulations.

New Social Security regulations for students

In the case of students on paid or unpaid internships:

  • Companies now are obliged to pay Social Security contributions regarding students that are doing an internship at them.
  • A 95% rebate is applied to the contribution.
  • The new Additional Disposition number 52.a on the Social Security Spanish Law will regulate the contribution.
  • Certain benefits are excluded, such as unemployment protection, the Wage Guarantee Fund, and vocational training.
  • They do not contribute to the MEI (Special Scheme for Self-Employed Workers).

Regarding unpaid internships:

  • There is an exclusion on protection for temporary incapacity due to common contingencies.
  • The managing entity or collaborating mutual society will pay the specific economic benefits using direct payment.

In addition to these points, further considerations worth keeping in mind

  • Labor inspection will implement plans to prevent fraud.
  • There are no retroactive effects, but a special agreement is allowed for internships up to five years before entering in force.
  • Repeal of D.A. 5.ª of Royal Decree-Law 28/2018 that regulated this matter.

The most recent developments relating this change are:

  1. Royal Decree-Law 8/2023 of 27 December:
    • Transitional rules have been established until the approval of the General State Budget for 2024.
    • The contribution for paid internships is adjusted to the monthly contributions for common and professional contingencies.
    • For unpaid traineeships, a specific daily employer’s contribution applies.
  2. BNR no. 16/2023 of 29 December 2023:
    • The company has a new exceptional deadline for notifying Social Security registrations and deregistrations.
    • Detailed regulation on traineeships started before 1 January 2024.
    • There is an extension of the subjective scope of application of DA 52.A for artistic and sports related education.
    • The scope of the application excludes certain people.
  3. Criteria of the DGOSS:
    • Criteria are published on different aspects of the D.A. 52.ª of the LGSS.

If you need more detail and updated information on these changes in the Social Security regulations for trainees, you can consult the official documentation of the Social Security General Treasury and the relevant Red News Bulletins (BNR).

Also, remember that Leialta is happy to be your trusted consultancy for the management of your company. If you would like to consult our employment consultancy services, click on this link.

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