Spain's workers given paid leave to support suicidal loved ones

Workers will be given paid leave to support loved ones feeling suicidal under new laws in Spain

  • A loved one will be nominated and signed off work by a doctor for two weeks
  • The proposal has been put into motion to aid those at risk of suicide in Spain

Family members and friends of people displaying suicidal tendencies are set to be granted paid leave from work so they can help their loved one, according to proposed plans by Spain’s government.

The paid leave from work will allow a spouse, relative, or friend to be nominated by a suicidal person to provide them with help.

The nominated individual will be signed off work by a doctor for up to two weeks to act as a companion for their struggling at-risk loved one.

Spain’s lower house approved the initial plans unanimously earlier this year in a non-binding motion. Now, the proposal has been advanced to aid those at risk of suicide. 

Spain’s lower house, the Congress of Deputies, approved the initial plans unanimously earlier this year in a non-binding motion

Íñigo Errejón, the left-wing leader of the Más País party and the MP responsible for advancing the motion, said he had met with Spain’s security minister José Luis Escrivá ‘to put in motion the future system of companion leave for people at risk of suicide’.

In his announcement, Mr Errejón stressed that 11 people commit suicide each day in Spain and that the proposed plans would lower the horrifying statistic.

The number of suicide deaths in Spain has slowly risen each year, according to government statistics. Some 4,003 people died by suicide in 2021 – almost 1,000 more than a decade prior to that.

More people die from suicide each year in Spain than die in road accidents. Spain’s men have died from suicide more than three times more frequently than women. The rate of these deaths is also more prevalent in the colder winter months. 

‘All experts agree that being accompanied reduces the risk of suicide, that having someone present saves lives, Errejón said, reported by The Telegraph.

The left-wing leader said the cost would be very low to the country and that the Spanish government would look to work very closely with labour unions to develop the plans.

He said he believed the plans for the nominations of loved ones to help their family member or friend would likely reduce depression and help those who feel guilty for leaving someone they know is suffering and vulnerable due to employment commitments.

Loved ones of those displaying suicidal tendencies will be granted paid leave from work, according to proposed plans by Spain’s government. Pictured: Spain’s Congress of Deputies

Mr Errejón is a founder member of left-wing anti-austerity party Podemos. He left to establish the Más País party after a calamitous disagreement with the former leader Pablo Iglesias.

Mr Errejón has continued to champion mental health issues throughout his political career, having served as a Member of the Assembly of Madrid for a short time in 2019 before taking a seat in the Congress of Deputies later that year.

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