Things That Matter

Spain Is Set To Offer a Three-Day ‘Menstrual Leave’ for Women With Period Pain

In a European first, Spain is breaking barriers by unveiling a new reform plan that gives women the right to three days off a month from work when dealing with severe menstrual pain. The plan is set to be approved by Spain’s government next week.

Spain is not the first country to unveil a plan like this: Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Zambia all offer guaranteed menstrual leave. Still, the plan will make Spain the first European country to offer it, and will hopefully inspire other Western countries to do the same.

Angela Rodriguez, the secretary of state for equality, told El Periodico: “If someone has an illness,” with severe symptoms also occurring with periods such as debilitating abdominal pain or headaches, “a temporary disability is granted.” This means “the same should happen with menstruation — allowing a woman with a very painful period to stay at home.”

Even better, the new plan doesn’t just include menstrual leave: it also offers measures to combat inequality related to access to pads and tampons. The new law would make it a requirement for schools to offer sanitary pads, and provide free pads and tampons to marginalized women. Taxes will also be removed from pads and tampons in supermarkets.

Rodriguez also told El Periodico, “One in four women cannot choose the feminine hygiene products she wants to buy for economic reasons. That’s why we propose for them to be dispensed free of charge in educational and social centers.”

Spain is also set to make abortion available to 16 and 17-year-olds without parental permission, and make abortions available in public hospitals. 

Each of these laws in the full reform package are due to be passed next week. 

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