Under Spanish law, self-employed workers are defined as “those persons who carry out a trade or profession for economic gain on a regular, personal and direct basis on their own account, in the absence of any supervision or direction from a third party, whether or not they employ other workers on another’s account”.

In July 2007 the Spanish Government approved a new law (the Statute of Autonomous Work) which introduced a new type of self-employed worker: the “economically dependent self-employed worker” – essentially a category of worker half-way between an ordinary employee and a self-employed worker (a type of engagement that has become common practice in certain sectors in Spain, such as transport or construction).

In order to fall within the definition of an “economically dependent self-employed worker”, a worker must carry out a trade or profession for economic gain on a regular, personal, direct and predominant basis for an individual or company as their client, on whom they depend economically for at least 75% of their income generated by their work and professional activities.

One of the main objectives of the reform is to provide selfemployed workers with a level of Social Security protection similar to that of ordinary employees, which is achieved by including them in the Special Self-Employed Social Security System.

Economically dependent self-employed workers are now obliged to register with that Social Security System and can specify the level of protection that they require ie, sick leave, accidents at work and/or occupational illness. The requested degree of protection will then determine their level of Social Security contributions.