Spain Will Offer Three Days Of Prescribed Menstrual Leave Monthly To Employees Battling Severe Pain

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source: Refinery29

According to the BBC, a draft legislation set to be tabled to the Spanish cabinet this week contains a section that allows women who are battling period pain to take three days of sick absence each month. These leave days will be issued with a doctor’s note.

People who have exceptionally excruciating and incapacitating menstrual pain are entitled to five days of sick leave per month under the proposed bill. The law also includes provisions repealing the so-called “tampon tax,” which was abolished in the United Kingdom in 2021.

Menstrual leave is currently only legal in a few countries across the globe, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Zambia. In Zambia, women are legally permitted to take one day of sick leave each month, referred to as “Mother’s Day” leave.

Despite its moniker, it is available to all women, whether or not they have offspring.

Whereas women in Taiwan have the right to three days of menstruation leave every year. Since 1947, women in Japan have been able to obtain menstrual leave without the need for a doctor’s note.

“When a woman for whom employment during menstrual periods would be very difficult has requested for leave, the employer shall not have said woman work on days of said menstrual period,” reads Article 68 of Japan’s Labour Standards Act.

But as per a recent survey, only about 10% of Japanese women actively seek menstruation leave.

source: BBC

According to Elizabeth Hill, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, Spain’s menstrual leave might be a game-changer, encouraging other countries to implement similar policies for women.

However, in Spain, the topic has caused controversy, with some legislators and unions arguing that it could marginalise women in the workplace and favour male employment.

“With this type of decision, you have to be careful,” Cristina Antonanzas, vice secretary of one of the trade unions UGT, said, noting that it could have an indirect effect on “women’s access to the labour market.”

The CCOO, one of Spain’s trade most profound organizations, praised the draft legislation, calling it a major “regulatory breakthrough” that will acknowledge a health concern that has previously been “neglected.”

Nadia Calvino, the Economy Minister and a former general director for budget at the European Commission, claimed that multiple drafts were being worked on.

“The government will never adopt a measure that stigmatises women,” she told reporters on Thursday.

Additionally, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the head of the leading opposition conservative Popular Party (PP), stated doctors should determine when sick leave is necessary.

He criticized the administration for using the tactic to deflect attention away from a mobile phone surveillance scandal.

Despite its intentions, Ana Ferrer of the Association of Victims of Endometriosis, a disorder that can cause more extreme menstrual symptoms, fears that the policy could lead to “discrimination” against women.

“We need recognition of our disability more than leave,” she told AFP.

The debate also found its way to Twitter, among users who expressed several opinions of varying natures and questioned the new regulation in the face of equality and inclusiveness.

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