SPAIN will offer so-called ‘menstrual leave’ to women suffering from severe period pain, the government has announced.

Women afflicted by menstrual cramps will be entitled to three days off work per month in a plan set to be approved next week.

The legislation will be the first of its kind in Europe.

In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, such leave already exists for women suffering from dysmenorrhea – the medical term for severe period pain.

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health estimates that around two thirds of women experience severe pain resulting from menstruation. 

Sanitary Products
The new legislation is the first of its kind in Europe.
Photo: Flickr

Angela Rodriguez, Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence, said: “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.” 

In addition, an outlawing of VAT tax on sanitary products will come into force and pads and tampons will be made available for free for ‘marginalised women’.

“One in four women cannot choose the feminine hygiene products she wants to buy for financial reasons. That is why we propose that they can be dispensed free of charge in educational and social centers,” Rodriguez said.

Finally, the bill increases funding for hormonal contraceptives and is making the morning after pill more accessible as part of a new sexual health campaign. 

The news was universally welcomed however Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of the UGT union, argued that the change could result in a ‘further stigmatisation of women’.


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