Excerpted from the Spain Career Guide
Cost of Living
Spain is in the throes of a major economic crisis that began in 2008. Despite the recent signs of economic recovery, today Spain continues to struggle through one of its most difficult periods. With record unemployment levels, practically no economic growth and the European Union’s (EU) largest budget deficit – nearly 11 percent of GDP last year - it will take years for Spain’s economy to recover.
The financial instability has resulted in fluctuating consumer prices, although housing prices have dropped. Generally, however, it remains one of Western Europe’s least-expensive countries for expatriates.
With the economic recession, which strongly affected the housing sector, property rental prices have dropped across the entire country. However, the cost of renting a house or an apartment varies significantly depending on the region or town, with Barcelona and Madrid being the most expensive places, while Lugo is the cheapest city to rent a house. Both Madrid and Barcelona present an average rental price of 820 EUR, being respectively the 28th and 29th cities with the highest average house rental prices among 44 world cities, according to Lloyds Bank international property research.
Medical Care and Health Insurance
The regional governments of Spain’s Autonomous Communities (17 in total) manage health care within their territories, with the exception of the autonomous cities of Melilla and Ceuta, where the National Healthcare Management Institute (INGESA) manages public medical services. For more information, visit the Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad (Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, website available in Spanish, English and five other languages), and for direct access to details of each regional health care service, click on the interactive directory map.
Hours of Work
Spain has a statutory 40-hour work week. Some labor unions, however, have negotiated shorter workweeks, between 36 and 38 hours. Spaniards mainly work a ‘split shift’ from 9 am until 7:30 pm, with a two and a half-hour lunch break in the middle of the day. However, this schedule varies sometimes depending on the season and the region (with differences mainly between the north and the south of Spain, and with slight schedule changes during the winter and summer months) and also depending on the company work philosophy. In fact, in recent years, different international companies, as well as some communities, have advocated the idea of bringing Spain closer to European working hours.
This is just a sample of what you'll find in the complete Spain guide.