Spain becomes first European country to give workers paid period pain leave
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Spain has become the first European country to pass law that will allow workers to claim paid 'menstrual leave' for the first three days of their periods.
The new bill allows those suffering from painful periods to stay off work for the first 72 hours of their periods, with the possibility of extending this to five days if needed.
For those with painful conditions, including endometriosis or PCOS, it can mean not being financially out of pocket whilst they handle symptoms such as cramps, nausea, dizziness, and even vomiting.
However, it's not as simple as calling up your boss and telling them you're staying home though.
To qualify for the new scheme, workers in Spain will need to provide a doctor's note and the public social security system will foot the bill.
The law comes in as part of Spain's package on sexual and reproductive rights that includes allowing anyone 16 and over to get an abortion, schools to provide sanitary products for girls who need them, and for young people to be able to change their gender on their ID card.
Addressing the passing of this law, Spain's equality minister Irene Montero called it 'a historic day of progress in feminist rights'.
She said: "There will be resistance to its application, just as there has been and there will be resistance to the application of all feminist laws.
"So we have to work (…) to guarantee that when this law enters into force, it will be enforced."
According to the Spanish Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society, around a third of women who menstruate suffer from severe pain known as dysmenorrhea.
Symptoms can include acute abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headaches and fever.
Currently Spain is the only country in Europe offering paid menstrual leave, joining a handful of other countries around the world offering similar paid leave including Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Zambia.
The bill was first announced in May 2022, with Montero calling the legislature 'is a legislature of feminist conquests'.
She added: "We recognise menstrual health as part of the right to health and we fight stigma and silence."
Last year, Spain's Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence, Ángela Rodríguez, told El Periodico that the new laws would benefit those suffering from particularly painful periods.
She explained: "It is important to clarify what a painful period is, we are not talking about a slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, severe headaches, fever."