The contract for the replacement of a worker: everything you need to know

Spanish labor law is known for its complexity and variety of contractual modalities. One of them is the contract for the substitution of a worker. This type of contract, although not as common as the works or service contract or the fixed-term contract, plays an essential role in many employment situations. If you are curious about this type of contract, this article will explain everything you need to know.

In order to guarantee the continuity of work and the operational efficiency of a company, there are different types of employment contracts in Spain. One of them is the contract for substitution of a worker, which allows a position to be temporarily covered in case of absence of the holder. Although it may seem a bit complicated, Orience is here to help you understand it in a simple and effective way.

What is a contract to replace an employee?

The contract to replace an employee is a contractual modality that allows the company to temporarily cover a job in the event of the absence of the holder. The causes of this absence can be very varied: temporary disability, maternity or paternity leave, leave of absence, partial retirement, among others. This contract guarantees the continuity of the job during the absence of the incumbent, and ends when the incumbent returns to work.

Requirements for the substitution contract

The substitution contract is governed by several requirements that must be met to guarantee its legality and effectiveness. These requirements are:

  • Justified cause: The company must demonstrate that there is a justified cause for the absence of the regular worker. As mentioned above, this cause may be a temporary disability, maternity or paternity leave, leave of absence, etc.
  • Temporality: This type of contract is temporary, which means that it ends with the reincorporation of the incumbent worker. It cannot be converted into an indefinite contract.
  • Reinstatement of the regular worker: The company must guarantee the reinstatement of the regular worker once the cause of the absence has ended.

Rights and obligations of the substitute worker

The employee hired to cover the absence of the owner has the same rights and obligations as the owner. This includes salary, work hours, vacations, and job benefits. Additionally, this employee is protected against unfair dismissal for the duration of the contract.

How to draft a substitution contract

The wording of a substitution contract must be precise and clear. It must specify the details of the regular employee and the substitute employee, the reason for the absence of the regular employee, the expected duration of the contract and the working conditions. At Orience, we are experts in drafting and reviewing employment contracts, and we can help you ensure that your replacement contract is correctly drafted and complies with the law.

Orience’s role in replacement hiring

At Orience, we are proud to offer comprehensive advice and solutions regarding employment recruitment. Our experts can help you understand the different contractual modalities, including the substitution contract, and will help you make the most appropriate decisions for your company. Contact us if you need more information or advice about this type of contract or any other employment issue.


The worker substitution contract is a useful tool for companies that need to temporarily fill a job. However, it is essential that it is handled correctly to protect the rights of both the regular worker and the substitute worker. At Orience, we are committed to helping you understand these and other aspects of the world of work in Spain. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information!

Frequently Asked Questions about the Replacement Contract

What happens if the regular employee does not return to work?

If the regular employee does not return to work, the replacement contract can become an interim contract.

Can the company fire the substitute worker before the reinstatement of the incumbent?

The company can dismiss the substitute worker only for justified reasons, such as failure to comply with job obligations.

What rights does the substitute worker have in the event of dismissal?

The substitute worker has the same rights as any other worker in the event of dismissal. This includes the right to receive compensation for unfair dismissal.

Can the substitute worker claim an indefinite contract?

The substitute worker cannot claim an indefinite contract, since the nature of his contract is temporary and ends with the reinstatement of the regular worker.

Can the substitute worker refuse the reinstatement of the regular worker?

The substitute worker cannot refuse the reinstatement of the regular worker. The replacement contract ends automatically with the reinstatement of the owner.