Irene Montero, the Spanish Minister for Equality, confirmed this morning (Monday, 16 May) that the new abortion law which is due to be approved tomorrow will include sick leave for disabling menstrual pain and paid maternity leave from the 39th week of pregnancy, but will not reduce the rate of IVA, Spain's value added tax, on menstrual hygiene products.
She said the Ministry of Finance and Taxation did not want the measure included in this law, but it will be negotiated again for the next Budget. She also explained that the measure would have cost the government about 30 million euros, but that as 22% of women cannot afford to pay for these products she would have liked it to have been included in the new law.
With regard to sick leave for disabling menstrual pain, which will make Spain a pioneer in Europe, Montero said this would not be dependent on Social Security contributions and will be paid directly by the State and from the very first day. “There will not be a limit on the number of days; this is a very good agreement,” she said.
When asked if it could deter companies from employing women, she said there was no reason why it should because the cost would be covered by the State, and she warned that employers will not be permitted to discriminate against women because of it.
The minister also explained that under the new law, paid maternity leave will begin at 39 weeks of pregnancy and not 36, as expected from the content of the original draft. “In the negotiations, it was decided to begin payments at 39 weeks after all,” she said