Menstrual pain leave for workers in Spain unlikely to extend to UK, CEO warns | Politics | News

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Spain’s attempt to grant menstrual pain leave to women with heavy or painful periods would be “a step in the wrong direction” if implemented in Britain, a businesswoman has said.

Spanish Equality Minister Irene Montero, who is pushing for the law, told reporters after a cabinet meeting: “We are making a law that will ensure that women can live better.

“It’s the end of working in pain and taking pills.”

The goal, the minority Socialist-led government has repeatedly stressed, is to de-stigmatize menstrual health.

Its junior member, the Unidas Podemos (United We Can) party, is the driving force behind the bill – with women’s rights-compliant developments being a key part of its political banners since coming to power some four years ago .

Ms Montero said on national television: “It is a law that shows what Spain is and what the feminist movement is in Spain.”

But Dr. Natalie Kenny, CEO of BioGrad Diagnostics, a laboratory and clinical training center, thinks the new law could be counterproductive for women in the workplace.

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Woman suffering from menstrual pain

Spain lobbies to grant menstrual pain leave for women with heavy or painful periods (Image: Getty)

She told Express.co.uk: “If we are to reduce gender inequality, we must ensure that the benefits given to women are also given to men.

“This, in turn, protects men and women in the workplace from gender bias by their employers.”

The Spanish cabinet approved a draft law on Tuesday. However, for the plans to materialize, the bill still has to go through an arduous process in parliament.

If that happens, Spain would become the first European country to adopt such a policy, which would cost the left-wing government, not employers, some €23.8m (£20.1m) a year .

It is not yet clear whether Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s minority socialist coalition has enough support in the Assembly to pass it, and obstacles are inevitable.

Pedro Sanchez

“Advancing Feminism”…Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (Image: Getty)

Dr Kenny said: “If the government implements the decision that has just been taken in Spain, some employers might also be less likely to employ women – so again I think we should support the workforce. work at all levels.”

As a UK-based company, the executive said, it will “continue to fly the flag for all genders”. This, she says, is the way to equal opportunity.

She added: “Spain is a progressive country on gender equality and although I could not predict the specific reasons why their government chose to implement this law, there is no doubt that they act as leaders and it will be interesting to see how it works in their country.”

Echoing her scepticism, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino warned that the regulations could “stigmatise women” and put them at a disadvantage when competing for jobs.

Trade unions are also expressing their concerns.

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Spain's Minister for Equality, Irene Montero

Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Montero leads the government’s feminist movement (Image: Getty)

Cristina Antonanzas, deputy general secretary of one of Spain’s biggest unions, the UGT, warned the measure could have an impact on “women’s access to the labor market”.

She said: “We can no longer stigmatize women, with the focus on us because we have time off because we are on our period.

“You have to be careful with this type of decision.”

Ana Gómez, president of the Asnala association of labor lawyers, said the measure could limit “the chances of being hired for women job seekers because it refers to the specific biological condition of women”.

It had been reported that furlough would be capped at three days a month, but the government’s final plan places no limit on the entitlement – ​​naturally, when diagnosed by a doctor.

Solutions Dr. Kenny would welcome at home include longer parental leave for fathers and free child care for preschoolers.

She said: “For me, strengthening parental leave regardless of gender is increasingly important.

“What I would really like to see more than anything else is free pre-school childcare in the UK. It will make the biggest difference for generational equality.

“I would like to see more support for families, especially young families.”

Spain’s reform package also includes a change to abortion laws to allow girls aged 16 and 17 to have the procedure without parental consent, with Prime Minister Sánchez writing on Twitter: “We are advancing feminism.

“Women should be able to decide freely about their lives.”

Meanwhile, a plan to remove VAT on sanitary napkins and tampons has been dropped from the project and will be considered at a later date.

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