Period pain sick leave law gets through first stage in Spain

Period pain sick leave law gets through first stage in Spain

On 17 May 2022, The Spanish Cabinet approved a draft law that would give female workers the right to take paid period pain sick leave when symptoms are severe. If the bill is approved, Spain would become the first European country to enact such a law.

Spanish women who suffer from Dysmenorrhea (around 75% of them, according to a recent study) would be entitled to three days of period pain sick leave a month, increasing to five in the most severe cases, which would have to be authorised by a doctor. The cost of this leave is to be met by the government, rather than the employer, and is expected to cost the government €25 million a year which suggests they expect a low uptake.  

The Spanish Prime Minister tweeted that the new law would ‘advance feminism’ and allow women to ‘decide freely about their lives’ while the Equalities Minister said it would mean it would no longer be ‘normal to go to work in pain’. Others have interpreted the proposed law differently, pointing out that the move smacks of paternalism and could stigmatize women and put them at a disadvantage in the job market. Notwithstanding the fact that such a consequence would obviously amount to discrimination.

The proposed law for period pain sick leave is still very much in the early stages of life. Next, it will go to a public hearing, then another reading in the cabinet, then a vote in the lower house of parliament before finally being presented for a vote in parliament. This process will take around 6 months so it remains to be seen whether Spain will join the other countries outside of Europe who have enacted similar sick leave for period pain laws, namely Indonesia, Zambia, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

This blog was written by Jack Dooley, Trainee Solicitor at didlaw.