Why Not Me?
Why Not Me? Why Not Here?
Although the UK is no longer part of the EU, what happens in Europe still often has a knock-on effect on our labour situation. British citizens for instance can see laws being passed on the other side of the channel and ask: Why not here? Why not me?
SPAIN NOW…UK LATER?
In a European first Spain has just passed a law allowing women with especially painful periods to take paid “menstrual leave” from work.
The bill recently approved by the Spanish Parliament is part of a broader package on sexual and reproductive rights that includes allowing anyone 16 and over to get an abortion or freely change the gender on their ID card.
The law gives the right to a three-day “menstrual” leave of absence – with the possibility of extending it to five days – for those with disabling periods, which can cause severe cramps, nausea, dizziness and even vomiting.
The leave requires a doctor’s note and the public social security system will foot the bill.
The Spanish government says the new policy will help combat the stereotypes and myths that still surround periods and hinder women’s lives.
Worldwide, menstrual leave is currently offered only in a small number of countries, including: Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Zambia.
In the UK the subject of menstrual leave has been debated for quite some time and is now in the spotlight following the decision of the Spanish government. The discussion may well lead to “Why not here?”
In the UK there is no law that enforces a statutory right of menstrual leave for employees, this means that any leave given by employers in relation to menstruation is entirely discretionary, yet uncommon.
What is menstrual leave?
Currently in the UK an employee who is unfit for work due to menstruation can call in sick and take the time as sickness absence, as there is no appropriate leave available as an alternative.
Is menstruation a disability?
According to the Equality Act 2010, someone will be disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities. Therefore, an employee would have to show that their menstruation pain had a substantial long-term effect on their day to day life in order to qualify as a disability.
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.