Spanish ministers today are discussing plans to introduce a law that will allow women to enjoy up to five days of menstrual leave a month.
The draft of the new legislation, which hit the Spanish media, proposes to give workers suffering from heavy menstruation, three days of additional medical leave per month, with two additional days in exceptional cases.
“We recognize in the law the right to leave for women who have painful periods, which will be funded by the state,” – wrote on Friday the Minister of Equality Irene Monte.
She said it would no longer be “normal to go to work with pain”, adding that the move would “end stigma, shame and silence during menstruation”.
Jose Luis Escrivá, Spain’s minister for inclusion, social security and migration, last week sought to soften expectations by describing the proposal, which leaked as a project that is still under discussion in the coalition government.
If approved, Spain will be the first country in Europe to allow workers to take menstrual leave.
While some called the policy long overdue, others warned against it.
The Spanish daily El Mundo, on whether the measure could prevent some employers from hiring women, said the state would cover the cost of the holiday, citing Ms Montero, who warned: “Not hiring will discriminate against women. “
“You have to be careful with this type of decision,” said Christina Antonanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of the country’s largest unions, adding that the move could indirectly affect “women’s access to the job market”.
“I don’t know if it’s doing us women a disservice,” she told Cadena SER.
But another major Spanish union, the CCOO, said the proposed measure was “justified” if pain during menstruation prevents a woman from working, and called it serious “legislative progress” that recognizes a health problem that has so far been “ignored”. .
“If we men had menstrual periods, this vacation would have come decades ago. This is a problem, ”the leader of the left-wing Mas Pais party, Iniga Erehon, tweeted.
Spanish Secretary of State for Equality Angela Rodriguez put forward the idea of giving some menstrual leave in March.
“It’s important to understand what we mean by painful menstruation,” she told El Periodico.
“We’re not talking about mild discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and severe headaches.”
Last year, some local Spanish governments in the regions of Catalonia and Castellon adopted the idea and offered employees a menstrual leave.
Only a small number of countries offer menstrual leave, including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Zambia and Indonesia.