MADRID. – Spain’s cabinet yesterday approved a bill which grants paid medical leave for women who suffer from severe period pain, in what would be a first in Europe.
The bill entitles workers experiencing period pain to as much time off as they need, with the state social security system – not employers –picking up the tab for the sick leave.
As with paid leave for other health reasons, a doctor must approve the temporary medical incapacity.
The proposed legislation must still be approved by parliament, with a vote not expected for months.
It was not clear whether Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s minority coalition government, which has made women’s rights a priority, has enough support in the assembly to pass it.
The proposal has split the coalition and even divided unions, with some saying it could stigmatise women in the workplace and favour the recruitment of men.
But Equality Minister Irene Montero said the law will recognise a health problem that has been largely swept under the carpet until now. “Periods will no longer be taboo,” she told a news conference after the cabinet approved the bill.
She added: “We will be the first country in Europe to introduce a temporary sick leave that is fully financed by the state for painful and incapacitating periods.” – AFP