Spain has officially implemented a groundbreaking law that grants women the right to fully paid menstrual leave as part of their sexual and reproductive health rights. The bill, proposed by the left-wing government and endorsed by parliament in February, aims to promote gender equality and advance feminist rights.
The recently enacted law includes several amendments that remove barriers and improve access to abortions and gender change procedures for transgender individuals. Spain’s commitment to enhancing sexual and reproductive health rights represents a significant milestone in empowering women.
Unlike many countries, Spain’s legislation acknowledges the importance of menstrual leave, which is not commonly regulated. In Germany, for example, there is no comparable provision in the law, while Taiwan only allows three days of leave per year with a reduced salary. Similarly, South Korean employers are required to grant female employees one day off per month upon request, but the law does not specify who bears the cost.
To take menstrual leave in Spain, female workers must provide a medical certificate, and the severity and duration of menstrual pain determine the duration of the leave. The law ensures that employees experiencing period pain have unlimited time off, with the state social security system covering the costs of sick leave, relieving employers of the financial burden. Although the law requires a doctor’s approval for paid leave due to health reasons, it does not specify the exact duration of sick leave.
As reported by the Spanish Gynecology and Obstetrics Society, approximately one-third of women in Spain suffer from severe menstrual pain. With the implementation of this law, menstrual health and related issues will no longer be taboo. Equality Minister Irene Montero emphasized that women will no longer have to endure pain or hide their discomfort at work, as they can now take leave to address their menstrual health needs.
The introduction of fully paid menstrual leave in Spain marks a significant stride towards recognizing and supporting women’s reproductive health rights. This progressive legislation sets an example for other nations, promoting inclusivity and empowering women in the workplace.