Online restaurant guide and food ordering platform Zomato has announced 10 days of ‘period leave’ annually for all menstruating employees in the organisation. This leave which extends to cisgender women, non-binary individuals and transmasculine men will enable them to avail 10 days of leave annually to deal with cramps and other menstruation-related discomforts. According to the company, these employees can take one-period leave for each menstrual cycle.
“At Zomato, we want to foster a culture of trust, truth and acceptance. Starting today, all women (including transgender people) at Zomato can avail up to 10 days of period leaves in a year,” Zomato Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal wrote in a blog post. “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave. You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day,” he added. He also added that if anyone faced harassment or “distasteful comments” when applying for menstrual leave, they could report it.
In a note for the male employees in the blog, Goyal wrote, “Our female colleagues expressing that they are on their period leave shouldn’t be uncomfortable for us…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.”
Period leaves have for long been a controversial issue. Since menstruation remains a taboo subject, many menstruators work through cramps, dizziness while experiencing a lot of physical discomfort. While the level of discomfort varies across people who menstruate, workplaces lack sensitivity when it comes to addressing the issue. Dysmenorrhoea, or pain due to menstruation, is experienced by a majority of people and is the most common menstrual disorder. Menstruators with ovarian cysts and endometriosis may experience more pain than others during menstruation.
In 2017, the Mumbai-based company Culture Machine became the first in India to introduce period leave for employees. However, the policy received a “lukewarm response”, The Print reported, with only eight percent of women using period leaves. There are concerns that such moves could further the gender wage gap and dissuading companies from hiring more female employees. In addition to maternity leave, this is often seen as a disadvantage of having ‘female workforce’ at the workspace.
Zomato has been previously also lauded for progressive HR policies in the workspace. In June 2019 it announced 26 weeks paid leave for new fathers. “There won’t be even an iota of difference in parental leave policy for men and women at Zomato going forward,” Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal had stated during the introduction of paternity leave. This is one of the few gender-neutral paternity policies in the country that cater to non-birthing, adoptive and same-sex parents alike.
Anureet Watta is an Intern at SheThePeople TV.