Friday, June 2, 2023


Spain has passed a new law that grants fully paid menstrual leave to women, as announced by Spain's Equality Minister, Irene Montero. The law, which focuses on sexual and reproductive health, went into effect on Thursday. The bill was introduced by the left-wing government and was approved by parliament in February, with subsequent amendments incorporated into the final law.

This comprehensive legislation not only includes provisions for menstrual leave but also addresses other crucial aspects of gender equality. Barriers to accessing abortions and gender reassignment for transgender individuals have been removed, making these processes more accessible.

The approval of the law in February was hailed as a significant milestone for feminist rights by Minister Irene Montero. The introduction of menstrual leave is an uncommon regulation, as there is no comparable provision in German law. Other countries, such as Taiwan, allow women to take only three days off per year for menstrual reasons, with only 50 percent of their salary provided. In South Korea, female employees are entitled to one day off per month upon request, but the law does not specify who bears the cost of the salary during this leave.

In Spain, female workers who wish to take menstrual leave are required to provide a doctor's note. The duration of the leave is not explicitly defined and can vary based on the severity and duration of menstrual pain. The law grants employees the right to take as much time off as they need for period-related discomfort, with the state social security system covering the cost of sick leave instead of employers. The approval of sick leave, including menstrual leave, follows the usual process of obtaining a doctor's approval, although the specific length of sick leave is not specified in the law.

Severe menstrual pain affects approximately one-third of women, according to the Spanish Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society. Minister Irene Montero expressed her satisfaction with the new law, stating that it would eliminate the taboo surrounding periods and ensure that women no longer have to suffer through menstrual pain while at work or conceal their condition. 

The law's initial approval by the cabinet in May 2022 marked a significant step toward addressing menstrual health and promoting gender equality in Spain.

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