Spain’s nationwide debate: Should women be able to claim period leave?

Spain's nationwide debate: Should women be able to claim period leave? Credit: Creative Commons

On Thursday, May, 12, it was announced that a new law has been drafted that would mean that women would be able to claim leave for period pain in Spain, creating a nationwide debate.

The law on sick leave for period pain, which is due to be approved this coming Tuesday by Spain’s Council of Ministers, has divided the Spanish Government, as there are those who fear that this could create another reason to justify discrimination against women in the workplace, with social media seeing the surge of a nation-wide debate.

According to the definition offered by the Spanish Association of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, “dysmenorrhoea” is a condition that includes symptoms such as “abdominal pain, lumbago, nausea, vomiting, headache and even diarrhoea”. 

“When the problem cannot be solved medically, we believe it is very sensible to have a period of temporary leave associated with this issue”, stated Ángela Rodríguez, Secretary of State for Equality and against Gender Violence.

Spanish Politician Inigo Errejon opened the floodgates of the debate on twitter, stating:”If men had periods, period leave would have come decades ago. That is the problem.”

Credit: Twitter @ierrejon

The Spanish Politician’s comment sparked an intense online debate with many Twitter users keen to comment:

“Period pain is, in many cases, a minor, non-disabling discomfort, or so much so that any worker with other discomfort is not cause for sick leave,” responded one twitter user.

“If men had periods we would be women,” countered another user.

“Period pain is one of the worst pains I have ever experienced and you know it is going to happen every month for years. Please let’s not be frivolous about something we know nothing about,” stated another.

“I have worked when I was sick many times. I have worked with COVID. Those who ask for sick leave are those who don’t want to work,” claimed one user.

“We will see in the long term what the consequences are, I think it’s great for now and on paper hopefully it will not result in negative consequences for women,” said one user.

“You all live in a parallel reality in which institutions are more concerned about men’s problems than women’s problems when it is clearly the other way around,” debated another user.

“If menstruation is so painful that it prevents you from working, then there really is a pathological condition that needs to be treated, not because you have your period, but because you have a pathological condition. A painful period is not normal and should not be assumed to be so,” argued one user.

“Periods ALWAYS hurt. There are months when the pain is bearable with Ibuprofen every 6 hours, although it doesn’t go away completely (we have learned to live like that), there are months when the second day you are rolling around in pain even though you have taken medication, and there are months when with Ibuprofen it goes away,” debated another user.

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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at