In Spain, the amount of gross salaries is calculated at 14 monthly payments. Therefore, during the year Spaniards are entitled to two extraordinary pays that are usually received at Christmas and in the summer, although the second may vary according to the conditions established in the collective agreement or the employment contract.
Many companies agree with their workers the monthly apportionment of the amounts corresponding to these two extraordinary pays, so that at the end of the month - and during the twelve months of the year - the employee receives a somewhat higher amount.
In the other cases, one of them is paid at Christmas and the other is agreed in another month of the year, often coinciding with summer holidays. Therefore, there are two months in which the employees receive the money equivalent to two months of work.
But if we forget about apportionment and specific agreements, the general rule is that Spanish employees receive two extra payments: at Christmas and in the summer.
The first one is usually received between 20 and 25 of December, while the summer one is paid in the second half of June or sometimes in the second half of July.
The same happens with the majority of pensioners, to whom the law recognizes the right to receive the money equivalent to 14 monthly pays. Only some pensions such as those for permanent disability, work accident or occupational disease also have prorated extra pays.
In the months in which pensioners collect a extraordinary pay, the amount of the money received double what is received in a normal month. The Spanish Social Security institution is who pays the money into their bank accounts.
As a general rule, pensioners are paid the Christmas extraordinary pay on 25 November. And the summer one around 25 June. Sometimes the banks advance the money. However, these dates may vary if the collection day turns out to be a holiday or weekend.
A dishonorable origin
The months in which the extra pay is received are usually the most anticipated by millions of Spanish employees and pensioners. Extra pays allow most families to make long-time delayed purchases or to go on vacation or celebrate Christmas in a more comfortable way.
Perhaps that is why no one in Spain protests against a system that has a dishonorable origin.
The extra pay was imposed by the last Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, on 15 July 1947. At first its amount was only to a week of work, not to a month as now.
During the Franco regime the extraordinary pay was known as 'the pay of 18 July', because it coincided with the anniversary of the fascist coup in 1936. The dictator thus wanted the workers to join his celebration of the dictatorship.