More Companies Take a Stand on Abortion – The New York Times

April 13, 2022 by No Comments

Yelp, the online search and review platform, is expected to announce today that, beginning next month, it will cover expenses for its employees and their spouses who must travel out of state for abortion care, The Times’s Alisha Haridasani Gupta and DealBook’s Lauren Hirsch report. It is the latest company to respond to the Texas law that bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The company, which is based in San Francisco, has over 4,000 employees, with just over 200 workers in Texas, where the ban has been in place since September. But the benefit would extend to employees in other states who might be affected by “current or future action that restricts access to covered reproductive health care,” a spokesperson said.

Abortion is becoming a workplace issue. “The ability to control your reproductive health, and whether or when you want to extend your family, is absolutely fundamental to being able to be successful in the workplace,” said Miriam Warren, Yelp’s chief diversity officer. Last month, Citigroup became the first major bank to say it would pay travel costs for employees affected by the abortion law in Texas, where it has over 8,000 workers. Uber, Match Group and Salesforce have introduced similar policies.

“Backlash gets a lot more attention,” Warren said when asked whether she was concerned about potential pushback on the new company policy. (A Texas state legislator warned that he would seek to prevent Citi from underwriting municipal bonds in the state unless it rescinded its travel expense policy.) Instead, Warren said that she and other company executives had received personal notes thanking Yelp for previous measures supporting abortion access.

Executives increasingly find that they have to take a stand on divisive social issues, such as reproductive rights, because their work force and customer bases have strong opinions on the subjects, which aren’t always in sync. For companies that operate nationwide, this is compounded by increasingly sharp political divisions among states.

This has implications for recruitment, which is particularly important in a tight labor market. “I think the question for these companies is really going to be: Where do you want to locate? Do you locate in a place where women have extraordinarily limited reproductive rights? Are you going to be able to recruit women to come there?” said Caitlin Myers, an economist at Middlebury College who tracks the economic impact of reproductive policies. Warren said the policy helps maintain a more diverse and inclusive work force. “We want to be able to recruit and retain employees wherever they might be living,” she said.

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