In a first for Europe, Spain recently enacted a law allowing individuals who experience excruciating periods to take paid “menstrual leave” from work.
The bill on sexual and reproductive rights that the Parliament approved on Thursday is part of a larger package that also permits anyone 16 years of age or older to seek an abortion or freely change their ID card’s gender.
For those who experience incapacitating periods, which can result in severe cramps, nausea, dizziness, and even vomiting, the law grants the right to a three-day “menstrual” leave of absence with the option of extending it to five days.
A doctor’s note is necessary for the leave, and the public social security system will cover the cost.
According to the law, the new regulation will aid in dispelling the persistent misunderstandings and preconceptions about periods that negatively impact women’s lives.
Irene Montero, the left-leaning government’s minister of equality and a vocal feminist, praised “a historic day of advancement for feminist rights.”
She warned the legislature that “there would be resistance to its application, just as there has been and will be resistance to the application of all feminist laws.”
“Therefore we must fight to ensure this law will be enforced when it becomes effective.”
The law provides the right to a three-day “menstrual” leave of absence with the option of extending it to five days for those who endure incapacitating periods, which can cause excruciating cramps, extreme nausea, dizziness, and even vomiting.
The public social security system will pay for the expense of a doctor’s note, which is required for the leave.
The law states that the new regulation will help eliminate long-standing myths and assumptions regarding menstruation that negatively affect women’s lives.