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Employment conditions and pay for interns in Barcelona

Compared to the rest of Spain, Barcelona enjoys a good economic environment, that is why students are more likely to do their internship in the Catalan city. As we know, the labor market has been affected by the crisis for over 6 years now, but what about the interns? They tend to be seen as an affordable way to support a company. Wages and working conditions as an intern may vary from an industry to another. Let ShBarcelona walks you through them.

Two profiles of interns

Photo by Pixabay

Photo by Pixabay

The “Beca of practicas” is linked to your school by internship agreement (convenio escuela-empresa):

  • Internship lasts about 3 months.
  • You can work up to 4 or 5 hours a day.
  • The intern must have an assigned guardian within the company.
  • No real staff costs for the company.
  • The company has no obligation to pay the intern, although the reimbursement of commuting expenses is still recommended and appreciated.

The second type of internship is more of a professional setting without real interdependence with the school (contrato laboral). In addition to validating your degree within 5 years before the internship and be between 18 and 30 years old, the following conditions apply:

  • The intern should contribute to social security.
  • The contract period must be between 6 months and 2 years.
  • The job can be part time or full time.
  • The intern receives wages determined by agreement. If it has not been set, the remuneration must be minimum 60% (during the first year) and 75% (second year) of the Spanish minimum wage (645.30 euros net for a full-time employee in 2014).
  • The company shall issue the intern a certificate stating the duration and position held during the internship at the termination of the contract.

Related article: Tourism Internship with Go Eco

The internship

Photo by Pixabay

Photo by Pixabay

Some working rules in Spain: usually the days begin later than in any other European country and end around 7pm. You will have to complete 40 hours of work within a week. Lunch break is usually at 2pm. Depending on your type of contract, it may be that you have to obtain your NIE (foreigner identification number). For example, if you are an European Union citizen, this card is not mandatory for a short period internship. It becomes necessary for getting a bank account, though. For Spanish interns, it is also stated that their work level can not be equivalent nor superior to a qualified employee under penalty of denunciation and fine.

Related article: Useful international networks in Barcelona

Pay and living standards

In many cases, you will earn less money than in some other European countries, however, the cost of life in Spain is one of the least expensive. Whatever the internship, review the contract carefully before signing it, to counter any unfair term and bad surprises. In addition, be aware that it is very common in Spain to practice  under the table compensation.

About the author

Mae-Lise De Sousa

Barcelona is Maé-Lise's favorite city in all of Europe. Her articles in ShBarcelona share her journey through the Catalan capital.


  • Hi, great article thank you! I was wondering if you know about intern holiday rights: I will be doing a paid 6 month internship in Barcelona, and have asked for holiday off in March. They are saying it’s fine but I will have to “recover” the days spent. This seemed weird, as if I don’t get a holiday allowance. Do you know anything about this situation?

    • hello, where are you doing your internship? currently looking for one. Thanks Izabela

  • Hi there, which internship program would you recommend? I have heard of Spain-Internships, but I’m looking for a program that offers pay and good opportunities

    • Hello, we recommend you to take a look in many webites and Apps to find a good internship or job, because it dependens in your career and many other factors. You can watch out more articles about internships in our blog and contact them. Good luck!

  • Hi, I got an internship in Barcelona, in the aquarium, for a period of 6 weeks, I would like to know if there is anyone who did the same internship in order to get a review from them. Thanks!

  • Hello,
    What is the maximum salary the government allows to company to pay for contrato laboral?
    My company is refusing to pay me more citing government regulations but i have not heard of this before.

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