Spain is set to become the first Western country to grant women three days of leave a month during their menstrual period.
While countries like Japan, South Korea and Indonesia already have menstrual leave, this law is the first of its kind to provide monthly leave for women.
The Spanish government is expected to approve the new measures at the next Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (May 17), according to Cadena SER radio station.
The country’s Secretary of State for equality Ángela Rodríguez announced the new initiative in March to guarantee menstrual health and recovery of reproductive health for women across the country.
She also outlined that the new law would grant leave for women getting an abortion.
She told El Periodico: “The rights related to menstrual health have never been discussed and the data is chilling.
“One in four women cannot choose the feminine hygiene products she wants to buy for financial reasons. That is why we propose that they can be dispensed free of charge in educational and social centres.
“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.”
Ángela Rodríguez added: “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 government has also announced that sanitary pads and tampons in supermarkets will be tax-free, and women in ‘marginalised social circumstances’ will also be provided free hygienic products.
The Guardian reports the new law follows the Catalan city of Girona creating flexible working arrangements for those suffering from their period by providing them up to eight hours of leave a month.
In the agreement, Girona’s deputy mayor, Maria Àngels Planas, said the move would ‘pioneer the approval of menstrual leave’.
“We are eliminating the taboo that exists around menstruation and the pain that some women suffer – that we suffer – during menstruation,” she said.
Rodríguez has also announced plans for the nation to assist in developing the male contraceptive pill, which should begin clinical trials as early as July this year.
The government also plans to pass a law penalising those involved with the sex trafficking of women in Spain.