Equality wants the painful period to be considered a temporary disability: "It's like with the flu"

Updated Friday, May 13, 2022 –
04:40

Equality proposes a three-day permit for menstruation with severe pain

Irene Montero and Ione Belarra, at an event in Madrid.EUROPE PRESS
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The Ministry of Equality proposes in the bill on abortion a pioneering measure so that the most painful menstruations are considered a reason to take time off work. The key is that it is a pain that is considered disabling. It wouldn’t fit for a little discomfort or just a headache.

The proposal proposes that these rules, in which women suffer a serious illness, be included in the catalog of causes of temporary disability so that doctors have legal protection to decree a period of sick leave. Initially three days.

From the Ministry of Equality they explain that in no case is this for days of discomfort or slight inconvenience, but for serious cases that, for the most part, are related to medical problems such as endometriosis or polycystic ovaries, which cause not only severe pain abdominal pain, but also symptoms such as headache, fever or diarrhoea.

It will be like a flu, explain sources from the Ministry. In other words, a woman who suffers from these pains would have to go to her health center so that her family doctor would facilitate her discharge. It will be that doctor who will certify that this condition is a cause of temporary disability. Just like when a person is having the flu and goes to the doctor to be able to take time off work because they feel sick.

A woman suffering from incapacitating pain could today go to a health center if she feels very ill to try to access temporary sick leave for her symptoms, but the fact of including it in the catalog of causes of temporary incapacity means putting an end to any arbitrariness and will give total security to women with these problems because, unlike the flu, period pain has a periodic factor.

This measure has generated a huge social debate and has created a division within the Government over whether or not it stigmatizes women. For now it is a proposal of the draft of the law and that it goes ahead is at the expense of the negotiation that is currently open between Equality and the Ministry of Social Security. Although in the last place it must also have the approval of the General Directorate of Economic Policy of the ministry of economic affairs of Nadia Calvio, because we must not ignore that the measure will have an obvious cost for Social Security. Well, the menstrual period will work just like any other sick leave.

What they emphasize from the Ministry of Equality is that it will require in any case to go through the health center. You can’t just wield words before work. It may be the case that you have medical certificates that should be renewed once a year.

The debate around this matter, mainly due to the clash between ministers of the PSOE and United We Can, has overshadowed the fact that the bill has other open fronts and that they are also being negotiated between the two government partners. All matters that will have to be accelerated a lot so that it could reach the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, as Montero wishes.

One of these negotiations has to do with Equality’s claim to eliminate VAT on feminine hygiene products such as sanitary napkins or tampons, which are now at 10% and would carry some 30 million. Equality would also like to include diapers, which would raise spending to 100 million. Suppression seems very difficult and the reference may be the coalition agreement, which pointed to a reduction to 4%.

Another issue under discussion is that pregnant women may have the possibility of having paid and voluntary leave from week 36 until delivery in order to prepare for that moment. Equality hopes to achieve it because it says it will be covered by a European directive.

The negotiations also cover the Ministry of Justice. In this case, to study the proposal that the Spanish courts persecute people who resort to surrogacy -the so-called surrogate mothers- even if it is abroad and legally in those countries. In Spain it is prohibited.


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