Food delivery company Zomato on Saturday stated it would give female employees, including transgender people, up to 10 days of "period leave" per year, as part of an effort to combat what it said was a stigma around the issue. The company's CEO said the move comes with an endeavor to "foster a culture of trust, truth, and acceptance".
"There shouldn't be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave," Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal wrote in an email to staff.
"You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day."
The note further stated that ‘Zomato understands that men and women are born with different biological realities. It is our job to make sure that we make room for our biological needs, while not lowering the bar for the quality of our work and the impact that we create.’
However, it also made clear that while the firm is introducing this leave to build a more inclusive work culture, a word of necessary advice is that ‘these leaves should only be availed if you are really unable to attend to work.’
Addressing the menfolk, Deepinder said, “A note for men – our female colleagues expressing that they are on their period leave shouldn’t be uncomfortable for us. This is a part of life, and while we don’t fully understand what women go through, we need to trust them when they say they need to rest this out. I know that menstrual cramps are very painful for a lot of women – and we have to support them through it if we want to build a truly collaborative culture at Zomato.”
There is no denying the fact that menstruation is still a taboo topic in India. In 2018, the Supreme Court overturned a decades-long ban on women of menstrual age entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, sparking a nationwide debate about women's rights. Meanwhile, Zomato, with over 5,000 employees is the most high profile organization to institute the policy in India. And with this move, it might set a precedent for many other organizations to build a more open and inclusive culture.