Spain became the first Western nation to offer menstrual leave to working women each month under the new proposed legislation outlined next week.
According to national media, the Spanish government is expected to approve the measure as part of a broader draft bill on reproductive health and abortion rights, which will be disclosed on Tuesday.
According to the sources, the proposed law would introduce at least three sick leaves each month who suffer from severe periods of pain.
Further reports informed that “medically supervised leave” could even be extended to five days for women with disabling periods who suffer severe cramps, nausea, dizziness and vomiting.
Worldwide, menstrual leave is currently offered only in many countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Zambia.
According to the Spanish Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society, around a third of women who menstruate suffer from severe pain known as dysmenorrhea. Symptoms include acute abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headaches and fever.
In a recent interview, Ángela Rodríguez, Spain’s Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence, stated that when the problem cannot be solved medically, people think it is very sensible to be temporary incapacity associated with this issue.
“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,” she added.
This proposal for a period of leave is not a done deal and has been causing some controversy in Spain.
The country’s left-wing coalition government itself is reportedly divided over the plan. While the far-left Podemos is pushing for it, some Socialists have voiced concern a menstrual leave could backfire against women by discouraging employers from hiring them.
The health bill would also guarantee the right to seek an abortion for free in the country’s public healthcare system and scrap the requirement for 16 and 17-year-olds to obtain parental consent.