PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) – Amazon.com told its U.S. employees on Monday that it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-vital treatments, including abortions, according to a message. seen by Reuters.
The decision makes the retailer the latest company after Citigroup, Yelp and others to respond to Republican-backed state laws that restrict access to abortion, helping employees circumvent them.
The U.S. Supreme Court is due to decide by the end of June on a case that gives its conservative majority the chance to roll back abortion rights or even overturn the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalized the procedure nationwide. About two dozen states, including Oklahoma and Alabama, have bills designed to limit access to abortion if the Roe decision is overturned.
Amazon’s new benefit, retroactive to January 1, applies if an operation is not available within a 161 km radius of an employee’s home and virtual service is not possible, the company’s message said. The measure covers US employees or covered dependents enrolled in Premera or Aetna health plans, regardless of whether they work in an administrative office or a warehouse.
The refunds that Amazon announced on Monday are not specific to abortion. They provide other non-vital treatments around such as cardiology, cell gene therapies and substance abuse disorder treatment. Separately, Amazon offers up to $10,000 in annual travel refunds for life-threatening issues.
The news came the day Amazon stopped offering paid time off to U.S. employees diagnosed with Covid-19, allowing them to take five days of justified unpaid leave.
(Por Jeffrey Dastin)