Spanish Menstrual Leave Legislation Tucked Into Abortion Law

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Last month, draft legislation was introduced in Spain that would provide for three days of sick leave every month for painful menstruation. This was an attention-getting part of a larger bill that contains greater restrictions on surrogacy but the loosening of some restrictions around abortion.  The BBC has coverage here.

Courtesy of Feminist Law Professor’s summer intern PS ‘s language skills, here are excerpts of one Spanish-language news source’s coverage of the same bill:

Nueva ley sobre el aborto en España incluirá baja laboral por menstruación dolorosa

New law on abortion in Spain will include sick leave due to painful menstruation (May 18, 2022), by Pau Mosquera, CNN España (here)

The Council of Ministers of Spain approved a reform of the Law of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy that dates from the year 2010, better known as the abortion law, which means minors under 16 and 17 years of age who apply for this benefit will be allowed to request without parental consent, and women who prove to suffer from painful and incapacitating menstruation will be able to obtain sick leave for the days they need off as detailed by their medical chart. Social security, not employers, will pay for their leave.

“We are the first country in Europe to regulate a temporary disability paid in full by the State for painful and incapacitating menstrual cramps,” said Irene Montero, Minister of Equality of the Government of Spain, when she presented the reform and emphasized the new relative rights to menstrual health that the bill would welcome. 

Among the different measures that this reform will include (which offers up to three days of menstrual leave a month), there is also an improvement in access to abortion, making it easier for this to be a guaranteed benefit in all public health centers and eliminating the so-called three-day reflection period that until now applied before a patient could submit themselves to the process of voluntary termination of pregnancy. 

In order to promote greater accessibility and co-responsibility with regard to contraception, the reform also promotes the development of male hormonal contraception and expands public financing of the methods intended for this purpose, including the morning-after pill, which will be distributed free of charge in health centers and specialized sexual and reproductive health services.

Read the full article (in Spanish) here.

-Bridget Crawford and P.S.

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