Women who suffer from severe menstrual pain will be allowed to take leave from work for up to three days each month under a reform plan due to be approved by Spain’s government next week.
The leaked draft reform bill will make Spain the first Western country to offer the right to menstrual leave, under which women would be guaranteed time off during their periods.
Currently, only some Asian countries including Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, as well as Zambia, grant menstrual leave.
According to the Spanish Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society, around one-third of women who menstruate suffer from severe pain known as dysmenorrhea, with that proportion rising if pre-menstrual pain is also counted. Dysmenorrhea symptoms include acute abdominal pain, headaches, diarrhoea and fever.
The reform also includes other measures to improve menstrual health such as a requirement for schools to provide sanitary pads for girls who need them.
Sanitary pads and tampons will also be provided free to women in marginalised social circumstances and will have VAT removed from their sale price in supermarkets – a long-standing demand from women in Spain.