With menstruation still a taboo in India, millions of women and girls in India face discrimination and health issues due to a lack of awareness surrounding the matter. Also Read - Breaking Taboos: Zomato Introduces Period Leave of up to 10 Days/Year For Menstruating Employees

In an effort to combat stigma around the issue, food delivery company Zomato in a progressive move said on Saturday it would give female employees, including transgender people, up to 10 days of “period leave” per year.

According to the company, women employees can take one period leave each menstrual cycle.

”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”,  Zomato Chief Executive Officer Deepinder Goyal said in a note to staff.

Is period leave a good idea?

Soon after the announcement, a debate broke on various social media channels regarding the efficacy of the move. In India, period leave has also been a controversial topic since many people view it as being sexist.

Many appreciated the move and hailed it as a ‘trendsetter’, given that several women face severe pain, heavy bleeding, headache, nausea, depression and sleeplessness during their menstrual cycle.

Menstrual pain or dysmenorrhoea affects nearly half of the women in the working-age group, so a ‘period leave’ is no less than a blessing for many such women.

Against the move:

Many people opposed the move saying how companies will have a ‘hiring bias’ where they will prefer man over women just so that they can save a few periods leaves. In addition, these leaves might further perpetuate the stereotypical notion that menstruation makes women unfit for work.

Some experts have also said that the spread of such policies despite their best intentions, could actually deter women’s progress in the workplace. More so, women’s absences could push them out of decision-making roles and eliminate them from consideration for promotions.

Others opined that some women, might not be comfortable broadcasting to the entire office, which days of the month they have their period.

In 2017, the Mumbai company called Culture Machine became the first organisation in India to institute the policy of period leave for its employees. A report by The Print said that the policy received a “lukewarm response” as only 8 per cent of women used their period leaves.

What are your thoughts?