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The first European country to offer Menstrual Leave – how edays has you covered

28 February 2023 3 min read

Menstrual leave

Spain has become the first country in Europe to approve legislation that entitles workers to paid menstrual leave. In this blog we take a look at what this news means, and how our absence management system can empower you to embrace it within your business. 

In February 2023, Spanish parliament passed a law that means that workers who suffer debilitating pain as a result of their period are entitled to take up to three days of paid leave every month. 

The government will pay for the menstrual leave provision – and workers will have the option to extend their leave to five days if needed. Employees will need to provide a doctor’s note in order to take the leave. 

Menstrual leave has been the subject of much discussion for some time now. In 2017, the Italian parliament proposed a menstrual leave policy which sparked debate around the impact of debilitating period pain for women in the workplace – however, the policy was not enacted. 

The reasons behind the legislation 

The pain associated with menstruation is known as dysmenorrhea. 

For more than half of women who experience periods, the pain can typically last for one or two days per month and while unpleasant, it is usually mild and manageable. 

Menstrual leave

But for a large portion of women, the pain can be so severe that even doing day-to-day activities becomes a real challenge. 

The introduction of paid menstrual leave legislation in Spain is intended to help those who experience incapacitating pain during their period, and to separate this type of time off work away from sickness absence. 

First in Europe, but not the world 

This legislation is the first of its kind to be approved by a European country – although it isn’t the first of its kind in the world. 

There are a handful of other countries that already offer a form of menstrual leave to workers to help them get the respite they need if they suffer from particularly painful periods. 

The countries that currently offer a form of menstrual leave are Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea and Zambia. The type of leave offered in these countries ranges from one to three days permitted per month. Some of these policies have been in place as far back as 1947 and 1948, in Japan and Indonesia respectively. 

Other countries around the world, such as the United States and the UK, do not have legislation in place regarding menstrual leave. However, some companies do choose to offer it to their employees as additional leave. 

How to introduce menstrual leave into your business 

Since this change is legislative, companies who have employees in Spain must automatically begin to offer menstrual leave as standard. 

While this is great news for the wellbeing of employees, the actual administrative process can sometimes create hiccups for businesses – as any major change can. 

With an absence management system like edays though, implementing new legislative changes or absence types is easy, compliant and completely flexible. We help companies to meet their statutory or additional leave entitlements. 

edays offers the ability to set up custom leave types and entitlements, so businesses with employees in Spain will be able to integrate this new menstrual leave into their system, without worrying about incorrect balances or reporting issues. Our custom leave functionality can also be used for different types of leave that your organisation offers – for example birthday leave or mental health and wellbeing days, as well as any new legislation that comes into force.

If you want to learn how edays can help your business, book a demo to find out more.

Georgina at edays
February 28, 2023

Georgina Mackintosh is an accomplished copywriter and marketing professional with a background that spans several industries. Her writing focuses on HR topics such as employee wellbeing, engagement and experience - as well as absence management best practice, how-to guides and news from the HR sector.