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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

All You Need to Know about Spain’s Menstrual Leave Policy

Period leave promotes 'inclusivity' in the workplace by acknowledging biological differences

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Ishita Chakraborty
Ishita Chakraborty
Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers social issues, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

SPAIN: The Spanish government is expected to enact legislation providing three days of menstruation leave every month for employees who suffer from severe period pain. The reform is part of a package of measures centred on reproductive health that was originally revealed on Wednesday by Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

The measure proposes that when necessary, educational institutions provide feminine hygiene products. Women in prison, as well as those who are more likely to endure “menstrual poverty,” will be granted access to feminine hygiene products. 

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The bill also repeals the sales tax on some items. The Spanish government is expected to pass the new legislation next week, making Spain the first Western country to provide menstruation leave.

In a 2019 study of approximately 43,000 women in the Netherlands, it was shown that 85 percent had painful periods, often known as dysmenorrhea.

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In March, Angela Rodriguez, Spain’s secretary of state for equality and gender violence, told Spain’s El Periodico that when severe period pain “cannot be handled medically.” 

“We believe it is very rational that there is a temporary impairment related with this issue.”

Why is menstrual leave necessary?

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Welcoming the menstrual leave policy tech consultant, Ashley said, “The concept of menstruation leave, in my opinion, should be introduced globally. Many of us have probably spent days hunkered in bed with a heating pad in the fetal position. It would be wonderful not to have to worry about taking too many ibuprofen or Midol to get through the day.”

Menstrual leave, a policy that permits women who are having severe period discomfort to take one or two days off work, is already in existence in a number of countries throughout the world, but it has been widely criticised as useless, perpetuating negative stereotypes about female workers.

Period stigma – the belief that menstruation is filthy, humiliating, and unmentionable – can keep girls and women out of school and out of work.

A woman without access to sanitary supplies, for example, may be forced to stay at home during her period, but a garment worker may lose her job if she gets up to change her pad before break time, assuming there are any facilities for her to manage her menstruation at all.

Women now make up about 40% of the worldwide workforce, and up to 20% of women suffer from severe cramps at the start of their period, a condition known as dysmenorrhea, which can disrupt their everyday life. For these women, menstrual leave might represent relief, but not if it holds them back professionally. Women endure in silence due to persistent stigma.

According to a BBC poll,

  • More than half of those surveyed said period pain interferes with their jobs
  • Only 27% felt comfortable telling their boss what was wrong

Nations that are offering menstrual leave

Menstrual leave is already offered in a few nations, including Japan, South Korea, Italy and Zambia. Women in several Asian countries, such as Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, and some Chinese provinces, are permitted to stay at home during a portion of their menstruation cycle. 

Menstrual leave laws across the world

When it comes to menstrual leave, Japan is considerably ahead of the game.

JAPAN: In 1947, they were the first country to implement it. The ground-breaking provision leaves the amount of days up to individual firms, but permits women with painful periods to take “seirikyuuka,” or “psychological leave.”

Menstrual leave was implemented in Japan shortly after WWII. 

There were insufficient sanitary facilities to accommodate all of the women who were entering the workforce.

SOUTH KOREA: Women are allowed to take one day off every month for menstruation leave. Many women say that the 2001 law makes them too uncomfortable to benefit from it.

TAIWAN: Taiwan hopped on the bandwagon in 2013, introducing menstruation leave as part of an amendment to the country’s Gender Equality in Employment Act.

In addition to the 30 days of half-paid sick leave available to all workers, women are entitled to three days of menstruation leave every year.

INDONESIA: According to the law, women are entitled to two days of menstrual leave per month. Unfortunately, for Indonesian women, it may not be that straightforward, since many businesses simply ignore the legislation.

CHINA: Menstrual leave is available to women in China’s northern Shanxi and central Hubei provinces.

The bonus was only granted to female employees in Anhui Province last month, and taking advantage of it required a doctor’s note.

ITALY: In March, the Italian parliament discussed instituting national period leave. Many people questioned if the ability to take three paid days off each month would deter firms from recruiting women in the first place.

Period leave promotes ‘inclusivity’ in the workplace by acknowledging biological differences.

The purpose of any organisation should be to recognise the true impact of periods, not to discriminate against males or to make women appear weaker.

Also Read: A Reflection on Social Taboos Affecting the Indian Women

Author

  • Ishita Chakraborty

    Editor-in-Chief at Transcontinental Times, Computer Science Graduate, PG diploma in Journalism and Mass communication. Ishita is a youth activist for PETA India, President of Girlup IWO, and a linguaphile. She covers social issues, politics, UN initiatives, sports, and diversity.

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