Big Companies Pledging to Pay Employees' Travel Costs for Abortions
Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor
May 12, 2022
A growing number of companies have announced plans to help employees who need abortion services and reproductive health care in light of the leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
With an estimated 26 states planning to ban all abortions if the Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 ruling, Amazon told its staff last week that it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments, including abortions. The benefit is retroactive to January 1, 2022, and reportedly will apply if a procedure is not available within 100 miles of an employee's home.
Other big companies that have added travel benefits for employees to seek health care services (including reproductive health care) that are unavailable in their home state, include:
- Tesla; and
Meanwhile, Salesforce announced last September that it would help its employees and their families if they wished to relocate from Texas after it passed the nation's most restrictive abortion law.
But employers may have to grapple with state legislation that would permit lawsuits against anyone who helps a person cross state lines to obtain abortion care. One such bill has been introduced in Missouri, and it's unclear whether it could permit such suits against employers.
On the other side of this divide, California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed tax incentives yesterday that are aimed at recruiting employers away from states that restrict reproductive and LGBTQ rights. His proposal would update tax credits, employer grants and other business incentive programs to entice companies to leave states that have enacted such restrictions.
The tax package includes $125 million to bolster California's health care infrastructure and help prepare for a potential influx of people seeking reproductive health care from other states.