Spain’s left-wing coalition government this week approved a draft proposal on a wider range of reproductive rights, including one that would make Spain the first European country to pay “monthly leave” to workers.
After the bill was passed by the Spanish cabinet, Equality Minister Irene Montero said, “The period will no longer be banned.
“We don’t have to deal with pain anymore, we don’t have to take pills before we get to work, and we have to hide the pain we’re in that makes us unable to work,” said Montero, who pushed for the bill to pass.
The measure forms part of a larger reproductive rights package that allows abortions without parental consent for adolescents 16 years of age or older and removes a requirement that a pregnant woman requesting an abortion confirm the decision three days after requesting the procedure. It also includes provisions to further expand access to sanitary pads for students. The Spanish parliament will have to debate the draft bill, an approval process that could take months.
Spain currently allows abortions on request up to the 14th week of pregnancy. In addition, it is allowed up to 22 weeks in certain conditions, such as fetal abnormalities.
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Caroline Hickson, regional director of the European Network of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said the bill was “long overdue in evidence”.
He said that a key part of the monthly leave provision is that doctors can recommend sick leave for any health problem.
“Theoretically, if you have a painful time, you should be entitled to just about any other illness,” he said. “It’s really about the normalization of something so simple, so basic – which for years was a source of shame and embarrassment, embarrassment.”
Leah Hector, Europe’s senior regional director for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Washington Post that Spain’s bill recognizes “specific needs and protections” for everyone who has periods as part of a larger movement around Europe.
Only a handful of countries, including South Korea and Indonesia, offer monthly leave forms. In some countries, workers are reluctant to take leave, while others fear discrimination.
Similar concerns have been raised about offering vacations in Spain.
Cristina Antonanz, deputy secretary general of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, warned that the provision of period leave could affect “women’s access to the labor market”.
“You have to be careful with this kind of decision,” France24 quoted him as saying.