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Spanish Government Passed Law Providing ‘Menstrual Leave’ First Time in Europe

The Spanish government approved a historic law granting paid medical leave to women suffering from severe menstrual pain is the first for any European country. These leave facilities are available in a handful of countries including Japan, Indonesia, and Zambia. Equality Minister Irene Montero informed that it is a historic day of progress in feminist rights.

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Spanish Government Passed Law Providing ‘Menstrual Leave’ First Time in Europe – Key Points

  • Equality Minister Irene Montero noted that the move would be a step towards addressing a health problem that has been largely swept under the carpet.
  • Equality Minister Irene Montero informed that periods will no longer be taboo. No more going to work in pain, no more taking pills before arriving at work, and having to hide the fact that they are in pain that makes us unable to work.
  • Montero noted that after the law was initially approved by the cabinet in May 2022. The menstrual leave law was part of a broader mandate that also bolsters access to abortion services in public hospitals.
  • The new legislation also allows minors aged 16 and 17 to have an abortion without parental permission, reversing a requirement introduced by a previous conservative government in 2015.
  • While the legislation passed smoothly under Spain’s left-wing government, it has created divisions among both politicians and unions.
  • The CCOO, one of Spain’s main trade unions, welcomed the move as a major “legislative advance” to recognize a problem that has been “ignored” until now.
  • Meanwhile, the country’s other main union warned that it could stigmatize women in the workplace and indirectly hinder their “access to the labor market”. UGT’s stance has also been echoed by the opposition right-wing Popular Party (PP).

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