A Spanish civil guard has said she received disciplinary action for being away from her job for 10 minutes to change her sanitary towel.

The woman was reprimanded by a lieutenant when she returned from the toilet for for leaving her post, despite explaining she needed to go to the bathroom because of her period.

The lieutenant reported that she had abandoned her surveillance work, prompting him to open a disciplinary file for which she could be suspended for two days without pay, according to her lawyer Antonio Suárez-Valdés.

The woman involved has put forward a claim of work harassment against the lieutenant.

Ironically, the incident occurred in Barcelona on International Women's Day on 8 March, a day aimed at celebrating women and their achievements in the workplace.

The news comes at a time when companies are considering giving women the option of "period leave" to provide flexible working and provide a better environment for menstruating women.

A recent survey found the majority of women workers in Britain say period pain affects their productivity at work, but less than a third tell their bosses.

More than half (52%) of the women surveyed said period pains have a negative impact on their ability to work, but just 27% said they had told their boss period pain was responsible.