Abortion law reform whose draft has been approved this Tuesday in the Council of Ministers, includes for the first time special leave for women who have disabling pain due to menstruation. It has become the star measure of a much broader reform; among other things, because it has been focus of disagreements between the two parties of the coalition government. The casualties, the result of special temporary incapacities – in the most technical language – have raised many unknowns. These are some questions that arise.
This is how the abortion reform remains: the keys to the law beyond casualties due to painful rules
Who can request this leave? Do I need a diagnosis?
Any woman with pain that she considers disabling. It will be applicable to women who have diseases that cause pain, such as fibroids, polycystic ovaries or endometriosis, but also to those who have dysmenorrhea, a term used to describe intense pain, without pathological origin.
Specific leave, like any other type of leave, requires a prior diagnosis and must be granted and be under medical supervision, sources from Equality explain. In other words, a medical act is required for it to be effective: going through the primary care consultation.
For how many days is it granted?
Although the first draft of the Ministry of Equality included that the casualties would be three days extendable to five, finally the law does not establish any minimum or maximum limit.
Is it automatic sick leave or should it be granted every time there is disabling pain?
No, it must be awarded each time. “If it were automatic, it would skip the general Social Security regulations and medical criteria. In addition, it does not have to occur every month or on the same days, ”explains Lorenzo Armenteros, spokesman for the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG).
With the current legislation, it is possible to cancel and register without having to go twice to the consultation. It happened, for example, with coronavirus casualties, automatically for seven days – the time it was mandatory to isolate – and extendable if necessary.
Is it possible to take a sick leave if your period hurts without this law?
Yes. If a woman has incapacitating pain caused by menstruation, she can go to her doctor to request a leave for common sickness, such as if her back or head hurts. According to data from the Ministry of Inclusion and Social Security, around 6,000 discharges are granted per year due to dysmenorrhea or abdominal tension due to menstruation.
So how does the procedure change?
This is a technical change that prevents women with very painful periods from being economically harmed for this reason. The law guarantees that the leave is paid 100% by Social Security and from the first day. This already occurred with some special incapacities, for example, with sick leave due to pregnancy risk.
In temporary disability due to common illness, however, the worker is not generally guaranteed salary for the first three days, although in a large number of agreements the companies cover the salary of their staff. The common disability benefit covers 60% of the regulatory base (similar to salary) from the fourth day of sick leave. In addition, it does not require a minimum contribution period, unlike common illnesses, which require a minimum of 180 days in the previous five years.
Do I lose money if I take this low?
No. This is the main novelty so that women are not penalized. It is a leave paid 100% by Social Security.
Can the company know the reason for my withdrawal?
No. The same system operates as with any other sick leave caused by temporary disability: the reason is confidential and is only known by the patient, the doctor and Social Security. Not the employer.
When does the reform of the law that recognizes these special casualties come into force?
The bill still has a long parliamentary journey ahead of it. Although it is going to be processed urgently, which cuts the times by half, it must still collect the reports from the advisory bodies, return to the Council of Ministers and start its process in Congress and the Senate.
Can I be asked in a job interview if I have painful periods?
No, soliciting this type of intimate information is prohibited. The law considers it a very serious offense to ask for personal data in selection processes or "establish conditions that constitute discrimination in access to employment" for different reasons such as sex, origin, disability, religion or sexual orientation, among others.
Can I be fired for this reason?
If in a trial it were shown that the reason for a dismissal is this leave, it is most likely that it would be declared null. "It would be discriminatory," say Equality sources.
How much money does the Government plan to spend on these casualties?
The economic report that accompanies the reform of the abortion law contemplates a total of 104 million euros, of which 23.8 correspond to these special temporary disabilities.