It always takes a bit of adaptation getting back to the office routine after the Christmas holidays. Some people feel down after the New Years Eve revelling comes to an end, others can’t wait to get back to earning – rather than spending – ways, while many of us are sad to end the holidays but also slowly becoming bored, so a gradual return to work is perhaps the best solution.

In Spain many people work through the conventional Christmas period anyway, taking only a few days off around Christmas and New Year’s. Instead, the focus is on the period around Los Reyes, or Three Kings, the traditional highpoint of Christmas in Spain, and also the time when children here receive their gifts. Three Kings Day falls on the 6th of January, so in Spain the working year only really kicks off in earnest from that date onwards.

The working calendar

Those who don’t take a Puente, taking days off to bridge weekends and public holidays, will have returned to work on the 3rd of January, only to have the 6th free. For many it effectively translates to a ‘soft landing’ – a time when the phone hasn’t begun to ring much yet, allowing you to gradually settle back in and prepare yourself for the coming year.

For those in Andalucía what follows is almost two solid months of work until Andalucía Day on the 28th of February. Hereafter the year is dotted with intermittent national and local public holidays that have to be observed by law. Offices, factories and most other places of employment are required to respect the holidays and close for business, though shops can make special arrangements and naturally important services such as the police and medical professions continue to work on a scheduled basis.

If you own a business you will therefore have to close your doors and give your staff the day off, though there is no law against coming in and catching up with work yourself. The best thing to do is to print out a Labour Calendar with public holidays clearly marked and use it to plan the holidays of your staff members and yourself. Whereas in the past practically the whole of Spain took a month off in August, the northern European practice of staggering holidays and breaking them up into smaller parts has slowly become the norm, so it is no longer necessary to shut down at the height of summer.

Planning ahead in this way will ensure that people get their well-deserved time off with the least disruption to the business.

Our best wishes for a prosperous and successful 2012!

For any questions or more information about labour law and regulations, please contact Perez Legal Group. Below is the Labour Calendar for 2012.

National Days:

2 January – Additional day for New Year
6 January – Día de los Reyes, Epifania del Señor
28 February – Andalucia Day
5 April – Jueves Santo
6 April – Good Friday
1 May – Labour Day
15 August – Asuncion de la Virgen
12 October – National Day
1 November – All Saints Day
6 December – Spanish Constitution Day
8 December – Inmaculada Concepción
25 December – Christmas Day

Local holidays:

Málaga
19 August – San Juan Eudes
8 September – Natividad de Nuestra Señora de la Victoria

Marbella
11 June – Marbella Feria – San Bernabé
19 October – San Pedro Feria

Estepona
15 May –  San Isidro Labrador
16 July –  Nuestra Señora del Carmen

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