EUROPE – SPAIN
Spain’s parliament passed a law on Thursday, 16 January, granting paid sick leave to women suffering from menstrual pain. Workers with menstrual pain will be entitled to take as many days off as they need. They will be paid for by the state social security system, not by their employers. A doctor will have to certify temporary incapacity for work, just like with other sick leave benefits.
To date, only a few countries in the world allow women to leave work while menstruating, including Japan, Indonesia and Zambia.
The law was preceded by heated debate among politicians and trade unions alike. In particular, there were concerns that the ruling could have a negative impact on women’s employment and encourage the hiring of men.
The ‘menstrual sick leave’ law is part of a wider change that also includes increasing access to abortion in public hospitals in Spain. Minors aged 16-17 will now be allowed to have abortions without parental permission.
In addition, free pads and tampons will be provided in schools and prisons, and hormonal and emergency contraceptives will be available at public health centres.
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