Spain passes Europe’s first menstrual paid leave law: What exactly is it and which countries allow it?
The next time you are crippled with pain during your menstrual cycle and you live in Spain, you won’t have to drag yourself to work, all thanks to a law that was passed on Thursday.
Spain became the first European country to pass legislation allowing those with especially painful periods to take paid “menstrual leave” from work. The bill approved by Parliament is part of a broader package on sexual and reproductive rights that includes allowing anyone over the age of 16 to get an abortion or freely change their gender on their ID card.
The law — passed after receiving 185 votes against 154 — permits for a three-day “menstrual” leave, which could be extended to five days, for those with debilitating periods that can cause severe cramps, nausea, dizziness and even vomiting.
For those who wish to use this law, they will need to produce a doctor’s note and the public security system will foot the bill.
Equality Minister Irene Montero, who was a driving force behind this law, hailed the passage of the legislation as a “day of progress for feminist rights”.
“There will be resistance to its application, just as there has been and there will be resistance to the application of all feminist laws,” she told Parliament.
What is menstrual leave?
It has long been debated across the world to implement menstrual leave for women in the workplace.
It is a type of leave where women may have the option of taking a paid or unpaid leave from their workplace when they are menstruating.
The period can cause severe discomfort, pain, emotional problems and other health issues, having such a measure at their disposal allows women to be at the comfort of their home instead of at the office.
Just as the topic of menstruation has remained a taboo in several third-world countries, the matter of menstrual leave is often associated with women’s work efficiency and workplace sexism.
Where do countries stand on menstrual leave?