By: April Carson
The second-largest private employer in the United States, Amazon.com Inc, informed its employees on Monday that it would pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life-threatening medical therapies including abortions, according to a message seen by Reuters.
Amazon's decision to give employees this benefit comes as the US is in debate over women's reproductive health. In January, President Trump signed a rule banning organizations that receive federal funding from referring patients to abortion clinics. This prompted outrage among many organizations and women's rights activists, who decried the move as an attack on abortion rights.
Amazon's ruling is the latest company to comply with a Republican-backed state legislation restricting abortion access, following Citigroup Inc (C.N), Yelp Inc (YELP.N), and others. It demonstrates how firms are trying to retain and attract talent in regions where their operations are still important despite legal adjustments that impact employees' health.
The Supreme Court's conservative majority is preparing to rule later this month in a case that would allow them to reverse abortion rights or even overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the procedure throughout the country. If the Roe decision is reversed, as many as two dozen states, including Oklahoma and Alabama, have legislation prepared to limit access to abortions.
In the event that Roe is overturned and abortion access becomes limited in certain states, Amazon has stated that it will reimburse employees for any travel expenses incurred in order to obtain the procedure. The company also stated that it would continue to provide health insurance coverage for abortions, as it currently does.
Amazon's new perk, which went into effect on Jan. 1 retroactively, applies if an operation is not accessible within 100 miles (161 km) of an employee's home and virtual care is not feasible, according to the company's announcement. It is available to employees or covered dependents with Premera or Aetna health plans who work in a corporate office or a warehouse in the United States.
The Amazon reimbursements issued on Monday are not limited to abortion. They cover a variety of non-life-threatening treatments, such as cardiac care, cell DNA therapies, and substance abuse treatment services. Additionally, Amazon provides up to $10,000 per year in travel reimbursements for life-threatening circumstances.
Amazon's new benefits come in the wake of rising demands from its employees for more comprehensive healthcare coverage.
On Monday, the New York Times reported that Amazon was ending paid time off for employees in the United States who were diagnosed with COVID-19, allowing them to instead get five days of unpaid leave.
The warehouse workers in New York are being voted on whether or not they should unionize; so far, more than 60% have said yes. Better pay and job security are among the demands made by a group known as The Amazon Labor Union.
It is clear that Amazon is committed to providing fair compensation and benefits for its employees. Even as the company faces criticism over its treatment of workers' rights, it continues to prioritize their well-being.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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