Indian food aggregator and delivery company Zomato on Saturday said it was introducing period leave for its menstruating employees. This will apply to women employees and transgender workers, Zomato Chief Executive Officer Deepinder Goyal said in a note to staff.
Goyal explained the reasons for the company introducing the leave policy, including why they have specified on 10 days a year. He said the decision was made in order to “foster a culture of trust, truth and acceptance”. “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” he continued. “You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day.”
He also added that if anyone faced harassment or “distasteful comments” when applying for menstrual leave, they could report it.
“Most women have ~14 menstrual cycles in a year,” Goyal’s note said. “Adjusting for the probability of you having your periods on a weekend, you can now rightfully avail 10 extra leaves compared to men.” He added that they should only be used if the women are “really (sic) unable to attend work” and that the days should not be used “as a crutch to take time out for other pending tasks”.
Period leave has been a controversial policy since many people view it as being sexist. In 2017, Mumbai company Culture Machine was the first in India to introduce period leave for employees. However, the policy received a “lukewarm response”, The Print reported, with only 8% of women using their period leaves. Some of the employees told The Print they were concerned about backlash since women took maternity leave as well. Media house Mathrubhumi also has a period leave policy.
Dysmenorrhoea, or pain due to menstruation, is experienced by a majority of women and is the most common menstrual disorder. Some women with ovarian cysts and endometriosis usually experience much more severe pain than others during menstruation.