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Menstrual Leave: Spain Drafts Bill for Paid Period Pain Leave

A woman with cramps

As anyone who menstruates knows, it can be excruciating when it’s that time of the month. From cramps and feeling bloated, period pain is all too common, although it’s not usually seen as a reason to take a sick day at work — even if you suffer from endometriosis or dysmenorrhea. However, the Spanish government could be changing things, as they’ve approved a draft law that would allow people to take up to three days off each month due to menstrual pain.

If the bill is fully passed, it would make Spain the first Western country to offer menstrual leave. Countries such as Zambia, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia already have legislation in place to guarantee time off during one’s period.

Related: 7 pressure points to help with headaches, digestion and period cramps.

According to the draft, the three-day sick leave for period pain will be allowed with a doctor’s note. If the pain is deemed to be severe, the leave could be extended by two additional days.

Canada currently has no laws in place for menstrual leave, although some Canadian companies have their own policies that allow employees to have paid leave during their periods. The Kitchener, Ont. company that makes the DivaCup, for example, gives staff a day off a month when menstruating, and no doctor’s note is required.

You may also like: My story: how a life-changing surgery helped my endometriosis

Aside from menstrual leave, the Spanish bill draft also includes new permissions for minors seeking abortions. Under the proposed bill, those aged 16 and up can have an abortion without consent from a parent or guardian.

“The period is going to stop being a taboo,” said Spanish Minister of Equality Irene Montero. “There will be no more going to work with pain, no more taking pills before arriving at work and having to hide that on those days we are in pain.”

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