Amazon to reimburse employees $4,000 if they have to travel for an abortion

·2-min read

Internet retail giant Amazon will reimburse employees up to $4,000 (£3,202) in travel expenses if they have to travel for medical treatments, including an abortion.

The decision makes Amazon the latest company, after Citigroup and Yelp, to respond to laws curbing abortion access in some Republican states.

The message, seen by Reuters news agency, said Amazon will help employees forced to travel for non-threatening medical treatments.

The benefit, effective from 1 January, applies retroactively if an operation is not available within 100 miles of an employee's home, and if virtual care is not possible.

Open to all employees

It is open to US employees, and covered dependents, enrolled in the Premera or Aetna health plans, regardless of if they work in a corporate office or a warehouse.

The reimbursement is not specific to abortions and also applies to other treatments, such as cardiology, cellular gene therapies and substance-abuse disorder services as well.

Separately, Amazon offers up to $10,000 (£8,100) in annual travel reimbursements for life-threatening issues.

The move indicates the companies are keen to attract and retain talent in locations that remain important to operations, despite legal changes impacting employees' health.

However, the announcement also comes a day after Amazon stopped offering paid time off for US employees diagnosed with COVID-19, instead giving them five days of excused unpaid leave.

Restrictive abortion laws sweeping the US

The US. Supreme Court is due to rule by the end of June in a case that gives its conservative majority a chance to roll back abortion rights or even overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling.

About two dozen states including Oklahoma and Alabama have laws poised to limit abortion access should the Roe ruling be overturned.

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In Oklahoma, abortion could become punishable by up to ten years in prison.

It follows Texas which introduced the nation's most restrictive abortion law in September, which bans the procedure after doctors can detect a foetal heartbeat - around six weeks into a pregnancy - with no exceptions for rape, sexual abuse, incest, or foetal anomalies

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