Path-Breaking Law: Menstrual Leave Approved In This European Country

Madrid: With the final approval coming through from the lawmakers on Thursday, Spain became the first European nation to pass a law granting paid medical leave to women suffering severe period pain.

Spain thus joined a small number of countries such as Japan, Indonesia and Zambia which grant menstrual leave.

After multiple deliberations, it wasn’t a smooth passage for the path-breaking legislation in Spain. The law was passed with 185 votes in favour and 154 against, reported AFP.

The Spanish government said the law is aimed at breaking a taboo on the subject.

“It is a historic day for feminist progress,” Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Montero tweeted ahead of the vote.

The law will entitle female workers experiencing period pain to as much time off as they need. The state social security system, and not the employers, will pick up the tab for the sick leave.

A doctor will have to approve the temporary medical incapacity, similar to paid leave for other health reasons.

No maximum limit has been specified for doctors to grant women menstrual leave.

According to Spanish Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society, about a third of women who menstruate suffer from severe pain.

The new law has attracted divided opinions among politicians and unions.

The UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, warned that it could result in stigmatisation of women and favour recruitment of men.

Popular Party (PP), the main opposition party, echoed UGT’s concern and said it could have “negative consequences in the labour market” for women.

The new law will also allow minors aged 16 and 17 to have abortions without parental permission.

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