Reprinted with permission from the Alliant Insurance Services, Global Practice.
On February 16, 2023, the Senate passed new legislation entitling individuals with menstrual pain paid leave provided the leave is authorized by a physician. The legislation does not specify the maximum duration of menstrual leave. Employees’ pay during menstrual leave days will be covered by the social security system at 75% of earnings up to a monthly cap.
Menstrual Leave was introduced as one of the key measures of the Organic Law amending Organic Law 2/2010, of March 3, on sexual and reproductive health and the voluntary termination of pregnancy (Ley Orgánica por la que se modifica Ley Orgánica 2/2010, de 3 de marzo, de salud sexual y reproductiva y de la interrupción voluntaria del embarazo), which is commonly referred to as the Abortion Law. It was published in the Official Journal (Boletín Oficial del Estado, BOE) on March 1, 2023. The new provision will come into effect three months after its publication (June 1, 2023).
With this legislation, Spain becomes the first EU country to introduce statutory menstrual leave and one of less than a handful of countries worldwide to mandate menstrual leave (Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Zambia).
Looking forward, it is anticipated that other countries and/or jurisdictions will consider introducing statutory menstrual leave. In fact, on February 14, 2023, the Congress of Mexico City approved to submit a menstrual leave related proposal to Mexico’s Federal Congress, which, if passed at the federal level, would concern all menstruating employees in Mexico, including cisgender women, trans men, non-binary and intersex individuals. If approved, the proposal would amend certain provisions of the Federal Labor Law (Ley Federal del Trabajo).
When considering implementing menstrual leave policies, be it mandated by law or offered as a voluntary employee benefit, employers ought to take into account privacy aspects as well as menstrual discrimination given that only individuals with menstrual pain and those who are of menstruating age are entitled to this leave.
The topic of menstruation has been a taboo at the workplace, making it challenging for individuals who are menstruating to express their needs. The new legislation is a positive initial step that will help mitigate this taboo: make menstrual leave a fundamental and recognized women’s health right, and hopefully trigger other gender and/or age-related employment benefits, e.g., menopause leave.