Yelp, other companies take a stand on abortion rights with travel benefits

Yelp, other companies take a stand on abortion rights with travel benefits

May 6 (Reuters) – Yelp Inc, and Citigroup are among a small but growing number of companies rolling out policies to cover the costs of U.S. employees who must travel out of state for an abortion.

Yelp Inc (YELP.N) was one of the first to offer support to its employees who may need to travel out of state to access abortion, a move the company says was taken to ensure that its employees have equal access to health care.

A crowdsourced platform for reviews of businesses including restaurants and hotels, Yelp this month began offering the Healthcare Travel Benefit to U.S. employees.

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“I think it really comes down to equal access to care. In order to protect employees and ensure they can get the health care they need no matter what state they live in, we need such a benefit,” Miriam told Reuters. Warren, Head of Diversity at Yelp.

Yelp and Citigroup (CN), Levi Strauss & Co (LEVI.N) and Inc (AMZN.O) have all pledged to pay for employee travel to obtain abortions while Oklahoma, Texas and d other Republican-run states are cracking down on access. Read more

Some major employers, such as Walmart Inc, Target Corp and Walt Disney Co, have refused to intervene since Politico leaked this week a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn its 1973 ruling legalizing abortion in national scale. Read more

Some might fear a growing trend among politicians in Republican-led states to punish corporations for their stances on social issues.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party, signed a bill in April stripping Disney of self-governing authority over its Orlando-area parks in retaliation for his opposition to a new state law. State that limits the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools. .

In April, dozens of U.S. House Republicans demanded the chamber drop Citigroup Inc as a credit card provider for lawmakers, after the financial institution offered to pay employees’ travel expenses wishing to have an abortion.

The issue has gained urgency now that 31 states have introduced abortion bans this year, according to policy analysis by research group Guttmacher Institute.

By offering support to employees who may need to travel out of state for abortions, Yelp and other companies hope to gain an edge by attracting and retaining talent while appearing socially responsible to investors.

“For companies that care about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging, they cannot sit idly by and be silent on this issue because it truly impacts all aspects of business. woman’s life,” Yelp’s Warren said.

But speaking out on social issues can carry the risk of losing customers and employees who disagree with a company’s position.

“Companies need to navigate these issues carefully, to avoid offending internal stakeholders as well as the external community,” said Izzy Kushner, president of human resources consultancy HR Impact.

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Reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo and Arriana McLymore; Additional reporting by Aleksandra Michalska and Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Howard Goller

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Ariana McLymore

Thomson Reuters

Arriana McLymore reports on the business of law, including the diversity of the profession, business practices, legal education and the career cycles of lawyers.

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