Menstrual leave is still struggling to convince in Spain after having introduced it in 2023

Menstrual leave is still struggling to convince in Spain after having introduced it in 2023

Seuls 1418 arrêts maladie pour règles incapacitantes ont été dénombrés en Espagne en 2023. supersizer/Getty Images

Many women suffer from abnormally painful periods, which handicaps them in their professional lives. Countries like Spain have created menstrual leave to allow them to take time off work, without loss of pay. But this system is struggling to take off in the Iberian Peninsula.

In Spain, only 1,418 sick leaves for incapacitating menstruation were counted in 2023, according to figures from the Ministry of Inclusion cited by El Pais. This is a small number compared to the 8.8 million requests for arrest that were registered last year in the country.

However, since February 2023, Spanish women with painful periods can be granted days off. To obtain them, however, they must consult a doctor, who certifies that they have secondary dysmenorrhea, that is to say menstrual pain associated with a gynecological pathology (endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc.). ). This device, unprecedented in Europe, was warmly welcomed when it was adopted by Spanish deputies. "It’is a historic day for feminist advances", declared on X (new Twitter) Irene Montero, who was then minister of equality.

60,000 women affected

We could therefore have expected that Spanish women would benefit from this new right, especially since the Minister of Equality estimates that 60,000 working women suffer from debilitating periods in the country. But the main people concerned do not always dare to use the menstrual leave system. Many of them choose not to consult, minimizing their pain because they fear not being taken seriously by their employer or doctor.

In fact, health professionals are not always sufficiently trained to properly support women subject to painful periods. They have not necessarily been well informed about endometriosis, and more generally gynecological diseases. Fortunately, in recent years, speech has become clearer. The new visibility of menstruation makes it possible to advance medical research on the subject, and therefore to gradually remove the barriers to access to care.

Nevertheless, there is still a way to go before women, in Spain and elsewhere, feel free to break the taboo of painful periods at work. Menstrual leave remains a rare right globally, even if several countries have implemented it, with or without a waiting day. France is not one of them, although the municipality of the commune of Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis) has been experimenting with this system since the end of March 2023.

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