With big names such as Citi, Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), Apple. Levi Strauss & Co. and Bumble offering their employees reimbursement in case they have to travel out of their home state(s) for abortions, many other organisations are also considering offering similar abortion-related benefits to their employees.
It all started in early March when at least 26 states in the US passed laws limiting access to abortions and making them illegal. When these changes in the reproductive healthcare laws came into force in certain states, Citigroup decided to revamp its policy to cover employees’ expenses if they wished to travel out of their home state for abortion. The altered policy provides for coverage expenses towards airline tickets and hotel accommodation.
Now, more employers are thinking on the same lines and considering partnering with various facilities, to offer abortion benefits to their employees.
Apple covers travel costs of retail workers, while Citi and Levi Strauss offer these benefits to all employees who have availed their healthcare plans. At Levi’s hourly or part-time workers are eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses incurred for abortion.
Employers are having to think of ways in which they can cover the abortion costs of employees, which means putting in place specific guidelines, setting up funds and so on. In addition to ensuring that employees are able to access procedures, the employers will now have to protect their privacy and even keep their staff out of legal trouble.
Some organisations are offering toll-free numbers to their employees using which they can arrange their travel and accommodation. The expenses are taken care of by a fund created for the purpose. Whether the employees are eligible or not is verified by a third-party vendor.
Alloy, had already offered to pay its employees residing in anti-abortion states up to $1,500 towards travel expenses if they or their partners required to travel for abortions. The Company had also offered to cover 50 per cent of the legal costs if the employees or their partners got embroiled in legal issues.
In Texas, the Heartbeat Bill prohibits abortions post six weeks. Non-compliance can lead to lawsuits. Idaho and Florida have also issued a similar prohibition.