Amazon will reimburse employees in the United States who need to travel for a wide variety of medical treatments, including employees who intend to have abortions.
The company sent a message to its staff saying it will pay up to $4,000 a year in travel expenses for medical treatments not available in the vicinity of the workplace.
It wasn’t the first company to do this. Recently, several other US companies have announced plans that guarantee access to abortion for their employees.
The move comes amid increasing restrictions on the procedure across the country.
The new Amazon benefits take effect retroactively from January 1 of this year.
According to the announcement, carried by the Reuters news agency, the new benefits will apply to treatments that are not available within a 161 km radius of an employee’s home and for which online care options are also not accessible.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to the BBC News report the expansion of the benefit and said it also included bariatric care, oncology, congenital anomalies up to 24 months after the baby was born, mental health treatments and inpatient services for problematic use. drugs.
Amazon is one of the largest private employers in the United States, with 1.1 million full-time and part-time employees. It employs people across the country—mostly in California, Texas and Washington State, the company’s global headquarters.
The benefits will be available to all employees enrolled in two different health plans offered by the company, including those who work in offices or warehouses.
The company also offers up to $10,000 for urgent, life-threatening medical treatment.
While Amazon’s expansion of benefits is not specifically aimed at enabling access to abortion, it comes at a time when several GOP-led state governments have passed laws restricting access to abortion in their jurisdictions.
Next month, the now conservative US Supreme Court will also rule on a case that could overturn Roe v Wade, a 1973 court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.
If the law is repealed, each US state may be allowed to set its own rules on abortion. If that happens, it is predicted that more than 20 states will somehow limit care for the procedure or even ban abortion in most cases.
In Texas — which has one of the strictest abortion laws in the country and bans the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy — a recent study found that about 1,400 women traveled out of state for abortions each month.
Companies like Yelp and Citigroup recently said they would reimburse employees who travel to circumvent local restrictions on abortion.
Citigroup said the policy was “in response to changes in reproductive health laws in certain states.”