Indian food delivery company Zomato said on Saturday it would give female, including transgender, employees up to 10 days of “period leave” per year, as part of an effort to combat what it said was stigma around the issue.

Zomato is the most high profile organisation to institute the policy in India, a country where menstruation is still taboo to some.

“There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal said in an email to staff on Saturday, which was posted on the company’s blog.

“You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day.”

Founded in 2008, Gurugram-based Zomato is one of India’s best-known companies, with more than 5,000 employees.

Millions of women and girls in India still face discrimination and health issues due to a lack of awareness surrounding menstruation.

“Why 10? Most women have ~14 menstrual cycles in a year. Adjusting for the probability of you having your periods on a weekend, you can now rightfully avail 10 extra leaves compared to men,” Goyal added.

In 2018, the Supreme Court overturned a decades-long ban on women of menstrual age entering the Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala, leading to a nationwide debate about women’s rights.

“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,” Deepinder Goyal added in the letter to staff.

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