Menstrual leave proposal rejected in Portugal

Written By Lara Silva

People Animals Nature’s (PAN) proposal for a menstrual leave for up to 3 days for “people with a uterus that suffer severe pain during menstruation” has not passed in Portugal’s parliament. The Socialist Party (PS), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Initiative (IL), and Enough (Chega) voted against the proposal. The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) voted in favor of the menstrual leave, while the Left Bloc (BE) and Free (Livre) abstained.

Ines Sousa Real, the only member of parliament for the party PAN, said that the proposal allows missing work for up to 3 days of the month, without “losing any rights, except for remuneration”. In essence, the menstrual leave would allow people to miss work, but not be paid.

MulherEndo, a Portuguese association that supports people with endometriosis told TSF that although it is a shame the proposal did not pass, PAN’s document did not go far enough. Susana Fonseca, the President of MulherEndo said that “the leave in the proposal by PAN did not include remuneration” and that other parties should reformulate the proposal in a more complete manner.

Moreover, under the failed proposal, to benefit from menstrual leave, workers would need to present a declaration from a doctor, health center, or hospital. Moreover, Ines Sousa Real said that “presenting to an employer a fake medical declaration” would warrant the legal conditions for firing an employee.

A member of parliament for the Socialist Party, Miguel Costa Matos argued on Twitter that the proposal was “redundant” as Portugal already has a medical leave measure with the same terms of three days, without remuneration through a doctor’s note.

The proposal by PAN was one of 1,400 amendment proposals to the State Budget 2022 drafted by parties. The members of parliament began voting on Monday on these amendments.

PAN’s proposal came after the Spanish government approved last week a draft law that grants workers the right to paid sick leave for menstrual pain derived from illnesses such as endometriosis.  The menstrual leave would allow access to leave without a limit of days and be fully paid for by social security. If this leave is enacted, Spain would be the first country in Europe to provide paid menstrual leave. Countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea already provide paid menstrual leave.

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