If passed, the bill would allow menstruating women to take up to three days of leave per month if they suffer from menstrual painmaking Spain the first western country introduce the right to menstrual leave.
Currently, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Zambia have policies granting menstrual permits, but until now no European country has done the same. Canada and the US also do not recognize menstrual license rights.
A study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada estimates that 60 percent of Canadian menstruators meet criteria for severe menstrual pain known as primary dysmenorrhea (PD). In the study, 51 percent said their activities had been limited by menstrual pain, and 17 percent reported missing school or work.
Symptoms of PD include abdominal pain, headaches, vomiting, and diarrhea according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“If someone has a disease with symptoms such as temporary disability, then the same should happen with menstruation, allowing a woman with a very painful period to stay home,” said Ángela Rodríguez, Secretary of State for Equality from Spain.
“It is important to be clear about what a painful period is: we are not talking about minor discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and severe headaches.” Rodríguez told El Periódico Newspaper. “When there’s a problem that can’t be resolved medically, we think it’s very sensitive to have temporary sick leave.”
The reform project, which is expected to be approved in the Council of Ministers next Tuesday, also includes other measures in Spain to improve menstrual health.
The bill proposes that free sanitary napkins be provided to students and people in marginalized situations, and would eliminate the government sales tax on sanitary napkins and tampons.
Rodríguez states that in Spain, “one in four women You can’t choose the feminine hygiene products you want to buy for financial reasons. That is why we propose that they can be dispensed free of charge in educational and social centers”.
Canada got rid of its federal sales tax on medical devices in 2015 after months of pressure from politicians and advocates.
The Spanish government is also planning to remove the requirement that 16- and 17-year-olds must have parental permission to have an abortion and Guarantee access to abortion in public hospitals.
Opt-out policies for doctors who refuse to perform abortions have made it difficult for some Spanish residents to terminate their pregnancies if no providers in their area offer abortion services.
The proposed bill would introduce an official registry for medical personnel who do not want to participate in the termination of a pregnancy.
“The voluntary interruption of pregnancy will be guaranteed in all public hospitals. For this to happen, all centers with obstetrics and gynecology services must have personnel that guarantee the right to voluntary interruption of pregnancy. We will scrupulously respect the right to conscientious objection and we will make it fully compatible with the right of women to decide about their bodies”, said the Spanish Minister for Equality, Irene Montero.
An opponent of the bill has pointed out that menstrual leave can have negative impacts on the people who use it.
Sky News reported that Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of the UGT union, said that the measure “would stigmatize women.”
“It harms women,” he said.
In Canada, advocates have A national menstrual leave policy has long been called for.. In 2021, the Canadian company that makes the Diva Cup, a low-waste menstrual product, became the first workplace in the country to furlough paid employees for period pain.
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