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Spain to become the first Western country to offer women menstrual leave

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Leah Sinclair
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The country is the first in the West to offer menstrual leave to those who suffer from “debilitating painful periods”.

Spain is set to become the first European country to offer “menstrual leave”, in a progressive move by the government to guarantee better menstrual health.

The measure will allow people who suffer from severe period pains to have up to three days off work every month, according to The Telegraph.

According to the paper, the Spanish government is expected to approve the package during its cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

“If someone has an illness with such symptoms, a temporary disability is granted, so the same should happen with menstruation – allowing a woman with a very painful period to stay at home,” Angela Rodriguez, Spain’s secretary of state for equality and gender violence told El Periodico.

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This time off is intended to benefit those who suffer from “debilitating painful periods, which is called dysmenorrhea.

“It is important to clarify what a painful period is, we are not talking about a slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, severe headaches, fever,” said Rodríguez.

“Symptoms that when there is a disease that entails them, a temporary disability is granted, therefore the same should happen with menstruation and that there is the possibility that if a woman has a very painful period, she can stay home.”

The reform also aims to make sanitary products more accessible, with schools offering sanitary pads to students who need them and removing a value-added tax from the products’ sale price in supermarkets.

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The move follows other countries across Africa and Asia that already have laws in place to allow for menstrual leave.

In 2017, Zambia passed a law that allows every woman a day off work, while Japan incorporated period leaves for women into their new labour laws shortly after the end of the second world war.

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