Scotland free period products: what does new law mean, who is eligible and how it works

Scotland is set to become the first country in the world to introduce a law to protect the right to free period products.

But what does this mean and who will be able to access them?

Here’s what you need to know.

What does the new law mean?

The Period Products Act will come into force in Scotland on Monday 15 August, with councils and education providers to be legally required to ensure free sanitary products are available to anyone who needs them.

The legislation was unanimously approved by the Scottish Parliament back in 2020.

It was originally proposed by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016 and has previously described the bill as both "practical" and "progressive".

She said: "I’m proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world.

"Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality.

"I’m grateful to them and the thousands of people who have got involved across the country.

"This is another big milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots movements which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make.

"As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, the Period Products Act is a beacon of hope which shows what can be achieved when politicians come together for the good of the people we serve."

At present tampons, pads and some reusable products are funded in schools, colleges and universities in Scotland and since 2017, around £27m has been spent to provide access in public settings.

Who will be able to access free period products?

Scotland’s councils will each decide what arrangements are put in place, but they will have a legal obligation to give "anyone who needs them" access to a range of period products "reasonably easily".

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said providing access to free period products "is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them".

She said: "This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products.

"Since 2018, we have delivered ground-breaking action by providing free period products for pupils and students in all our schools, colleges and universities."

She added: "We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action."