Female workers in Spain can now take their monthly menstrual leave for three to five days if they are uncomfortable during their periods.
This follows the recent passing of several sexual and reproductive rights laws by Spain, making it the first country in Europe to grant workers paid menstruation leave.
Out of 185 votes cast in the parliament, 154 were in favour of the measure that was approved in Spain, meaning that majority supported it.
Why it matters: For four to five days each month, women across the world experience discomfort (and some excruciating pain) during their periods. This often affects both their personal and professional lives.
The Spanish Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology confirmed this saying that about one-third of women experience exceptionally painful periods. Hence, the need to give them some time off work while experiencing mensuration.
However, some organizations have expressed opposition to the idea of allowing women to take time off for their periods. The UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores), Spain’s largest labor union, has also criticized the measure. The group asserts that this law may stigmatize women in the workplace.
Despite the opposition, the law has approved the idea making Spain the first EU country to pass the law.
What they are saying: The country’s equality minister, Irene Montero, told the legislature that women cannot be full citizens without these rights. She further stated that the government will pay for menstrual leave benefit.
Minister Irene Montero believes that this choice is significant for the health of women. Women now have the right to a paid period of absence due to this law and will be permitted to take time off during their periods.
Other countries practicing it: These days, women are allowed time off during their periods in a few nations. Japan, Indonesia and Zambia, and other nations are the countries that are practicing this law.
Work culture in Spain: Spain has a work culture which many indigenes and foreign male and female professionals find favourable. For instance, as at October 2020, 37% of managerial positions in Spain were held by women, slightly above the European Union average. Even foreign female professionals are also readily accepted as managers.
Also, according to national statistics foreign workers account for around 15% of the country’s total labor force. Spain’s labor laws are also among the most robust in the EU and the country offers many protections for workers. These laws prohibit discrimination in any form, harassment, and victimization.
Spanish law also requires companies to grant workers at least 30 days of paid leave and 12 paid public holidays each year.
With this new law and other work practices that encourage non-discriminatory practices, diversity and work-life balance, may encourage Nigerian professionals who are considering obtaining work visas to Spain to work.
The news has introduced menstrual leave for women in the workplace is a positive step towards gender equality and female empowerment. The policy recognizes the challenges that menstruation can pose for women, including pain and discomfort, and seeks to support their physical and mental health by allowing them to take time off work. This move could also help reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation and raise awareness about women’s health issues in the workplace. However, it remains to be seen how the policy will be implemented and whether it will have any unintended consequences. Overall, it is a step in the right direction for promoting gender equality in the workplace.