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Spain Includes Paid Menstrual Leave in Proposed Reproductive Reform Measure

Rosemary Birardi | 16 Jun 2022

On 17 May 2022, Council of Ministers of Spain announced its approval of proposed reforms to its law on sexual and reproductive health. The measure would reform the Organic Law 2/2010, of 3 March, on Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (Organic Law 2/2010). The changes proposed are wide-ranging and cover sexuality education and contraception, menstrual health, pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, and reproductive violence.

The modification of Organic Law 2/2010 would establish the right to menstrual health for the first time in Spanish law and make it part of the fundamental right to health care for women. The proposal would establish the right to monthly leave paid by the government for women who have painful and disabling periods.

If the changes to Organic Law 2/2010 are approved by the Spanish parliament, it would make Spain the first European country to provide paid menstrual leave for female workers. Menstrual leave is offered in only a handful of countries, such as Indonesia and South Korea.

Presently, the reform measure has only been approved by the Council of Ministers. Adoption of the proposal into law could take some months. It must be referred to the Congress of Deputies (one legislative chamber of Spain's parliament) and approved there. The bill would then go to the Senate (the other legislative chamber), which has the power to propose amendments or veto the bill.

Edward Kowalski, Esq., is Manager, Payroll Information Resources, for the American Payroll Association