With the repeal of Roe vs. Wade on the horizon, America’s largest corporations are offering travel reimbursement and other benefits to employees in states that restrict access to abortion. This is our live tracker.
by Maggie McGrath and Jena McGregor
VSAmerican corporations would rather talk about just about anything other than abortion. Climate change? An evidence. Access to voting? An American right. The so-called “bathroom bills”? A threat to the well-being and safety of employees.
But thanks to a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe vs. Wadethe landmark 1973 decision that made abortion a guaranteed right in the United States, CEOs of America’s biggest corporations are being asked to take a stand – and in a growing number of cases, offer new benefits or funds to resolve – which has long been the third rail of American politics.
“As with anything else social and political, there is no middle ground anymore,” says Anthony Johndrow, who runs a reputation consultancy that advises businesses on how to engage in such issues . “Companies have discovered this to their chagrin, and it would be hard to find a question that is more emotionally charged than this.
Public opinion polls show that workers would appreciate help from their employers. Americans favor legislation that would legalize abortion nationwide by nearly 20 points; a recent Morning Consult poll found that by a margin of two to one, employed adults would prefer to live in a state where abortion is legal; and according to data released last fall, about two-thirds of college-educated workers said they would not move to a state with extreme abortion restrictions.
That’s why more and more companies, amid sweeping restrictions in states like Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi and ahead of the planned repeal of deerannounce that they will help employees who need abortion services and reproductive health care, wherever they live. For activist shareholders like Shelley Alpern, who leads corporate engagement initiatives at Rhia Ventures, a nonprofit that invests in reproductive health ventures, companies that have remained silent thus far will have to speak up. . “I think their PR firms are advising them to keep quiet about it,” she says. Silence is “not just shameful, it’s so deaf in the moment. These questions are not going away. Half of all people who work in companies are wondering what their benefits are right now. »
In a rapidly changing environment where lawmakers are already threatening to penalize companies that offer such perks, some employers may be waiting for the Supreme Court’s actual ruling on deer. Others would consider special benefits. For now, here are the companies, updated as announcements are made, that have said they will provide assistance to employees facing the hurdles of restrictive laws:
Amazon told its U.S. employees, according to a message obtained by Reuters, that it would cover up to $4,000 in travel costs for medical procedures, including abortion. The benefit is retroactive to January 1, 2022 and will take effect if a procedure (any medical procedure, not just abortion) is not available within 100 miles of an employee’s home and virtual care is not available. are not available. The company has yet to respond to a Forbes request for comment.
The union-owned bank said in a statement it would cover travel costs “for employees and their dependents who must travel out of state to access reproductive health care.” The benefit includes airfare, gas, hotel and meal expenses, as well as up to five days of child care expenses for an employee’s young children who may need to stay home during the trip. The bank also announced that it is launching a grassroots fundraising campaign for organizations addressing the access problem, called the Critical Reproductive Access Fund (CRAF).
The company said its health plan covers abortion care and travel expenses if needed, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Forbes contacted the company for comment.
Following the September enactment of SB 8 in Texas — the bill banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, a point at which many women don’t even know they’re pregnant — Bumble announced a relief for women and people of all genders. by legislation. “Bumble is a company founded and run by women, and from day one we have stood up for the most vulnerable. We will continue to fight against regressive laws like #SB8“, said the company at the time.
In its 2022 proxy statement, the Wall Street bank said that “in response to changes in reproductive health laws in some states” it would begin providing travel benefits this year “to facilitate access to adequate resources”. In response, a Texas lawmaker warned he would introduce a bill to prevent the bank from underwriting municipal loans in the state unless Citigroup changed the policy. The company said any U.S. employee enrolled in its health plan would be eligible, and the benefit is managed through their health plan.
The food delivery platform said it will begin covering certain travel-related expenses for employees and their dependents who are enrolled in its health plan and need to travel out of state for health-related care. abortion and living in states where there are barriers to access.
Levi Strauss & Co.
The denim maker said in a May 4 statement that its current benefits plan makes employees “eligible for reimbursement of healthcare-related travel expenses for services not available in their home country, including those related to reproductive health care and abortion”. It also said that employees outside of its benefits plan — including part-time hourly workers — “may seek reimbursement for travel expenses incurred under the same circumstances.” Travel coverage and reimbursement for all forms of medical care not available in an employee’s home state was already part of their benefits package, the company said.
“Business leaders are responsible for protecting the health and well-being of our employees, and this includes protecting reproductive rights and access to abortion,” the company said in its statement. “Access to reproductive health care, including abortion, has been a key factor in the advances and contributions of women in the workplace over the past 50 years. Further restricting or criminalizing access will undermine this progress and disproportionately affect women of color, putting their well-being at risk and hampering various employment channels.
In September, the ride-sharing service pledged to protect its Texas-based drivers from the “bonus” portion of SB 8, and in April, following a copycat law in Oklahoma, Lyft’s CEO, Logan Green, announced: by Twitteran extension of benefits, including travel expense coverage for U.S. employees enrolled in the company’s health plan who must travel more than 100 miles to access abortion services.
In an internal note released in the fall of 2021, outgoing CEO Shar Dubey told employees she had created a fund for workers affected by SB 8.
The software giant told employees in September, according to a Slack message obtained by CNBC, that the company would help employees relocate after Texas passed a restrictive abortion law. According to CNBC, the post read, “If you have concerns about access to reproductive health care in your state, Salesforce will help move you and your immediate family members.” Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff also tweeted to his “ohana,” a Hawaiian concept referring to family, that “if you want to move, we’ll help you get out of Texas.” Your choice.” Salesforce did not immediately respond to messages from Forbes On the question.
Buried in the electric carmaker’s new 2021 impact report – which it released on Friday, May 6 – was a reference to an expanded “safety net” program and health insurance coverage that includes “a travel and accommodation assistance for those who may need to seek health services in their home country”. Tesla Investor Relations has yet to respond to a Forbes requesting clarification as to whether this policy was created in response to state-to-state abortion restrictions.
united talent agency
In a memo to employees of the Hollywood talent agency posted on its site May 4, CEO Jeremy Zimmer said he would reimburse travel expenses “related to receiving reproductive health services for women who are not accessible in their state of residence”. In the memo, Zimmer said, “We are doing this to support the right to choose which is the foundation of a law that has been established for nearly half a century.”
Although Yelp’s health insurance already includes abortion care, it now also offers travel benefits for covered U.S. employees and dependents who must travel out of state to access it, provided by the provider. insurance. In an email to Forbes, the company said it not only covers employees currently affected by restricted access to abortion, but also those who may be affected in the future. On May 3, Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said the company would double employee donations to groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood through June.