Yelp says many companies are asking about its benefit supporting employees seeking abortions
Yelpexec said several companies have reached out about its travel benefit for employees seeking abortion.
- A leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court indicates that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
In the days that followed the leaked opinion's publication, tech company Yelp announced it will cover travel costs for its own employees seeking an abortion. About 200 Yelp employees live in Texas, one of the states to recently enact a near-abortion ban. (Tesla, Amazon, and others have released statements or new benefits supporting abortion access over the past week).
More companies may soon be following suit. Several companies have reached out to Yelp to inquire about how to adopt a similar benefit at their companies, according to Miriam Warren, the company's head of
"Many companies are reaching out about this issue," she told Insider on Tuesday. "This shows us that companies, big and small, and across a number of industries, are concerned about this issue and they also want to do something to safeguard their employees."
Corporate America is in a new era of
Yelp had shared a statement with Insider after the Supreme Court draft was leaked. The company took a stand opposing the draft decision and called on other employers to support employees.
"Overturning Roe v. Wade will jeopardize the human rights of millions of women who stand to lose the liberty to make decisions over their own bodies, Yelp's statement said. "Turning back the clock on the progress women have made over the past 50 years will have a seismic impact on our society and economy. This goes against the will of the vast majority of Americans who agree that decisions around reproductive care should be made by women and their doctors. Therefore Congress must codify these rights into law. In the meantime, more companies will need to step up to safeguard their employees, and provide equal access to the
In an interview before the Supreme Court draft was leaked – Yelp exec Warren offered her perspective, saying that abortion restrictions are a matter of employee health and safety. In an interview with Insider via email, she spoke about why the company felt compelled to take a stand and the state of corporate leadership today.
This updated article originally published in April.
Yelp is the latest employer to cover travel costs for employees seeking an abortion. Based on the timing, it appears that the recent Texas law banning abortions after six weeks (titled SB8) was the tipping point. Why was that?
This is not a new issue for Yelp; this is a new benefit. Our company and our CEO have long been invested in promoting gender equity, the possibility of which is diminished when women don't have control over their own reproductive health.
SB8 was definitely a turning point and sparked the conversation about what we could do to support equal access to
Walk me through the decision. How long was Yelp leadership discussing this? Whose idea was it? How long did it take to roll this out, and what did that process look like?
Our employees care about this issue, and they care about Yelp caring about this issue. In the wake of
Initially, we were hopeful that there would be judicial intervention to stop SB8, and when that did not occur in December 2021, it became clear that we would need to approach our insurance providers about how we could evolve our benefits to make sure all of our employees retained the ability to get the medical care that they need.
As a distributed remote-first company with employees in all 50 states, we wanted to put a forward-looking and sustainable policy in place to ensure that whatever changes we made would support employees and their dependents, regardless of their chosen residence.
Why did Yelp roll out this benefit?
We've long been a strong advocate for equity in the workplace and believe that gender equity cannot be achieved if women's rights are restricted. The health and safety of our employees is our top priority, and we wanted to offer them consistent healthcare coverage.
Our insurance provider has always covered abortion and other reproductive services. Now they will also cover travel expenses for employees and dependents to obtain these services if they're locally prohibited. This benefit will be provided directly through our insurance provider to covered employees and their dependents impacted by current or future action that restricts access to covered reproductive healthcare.
How is abortion access a diversity, equity, and inclusion issue?
This is a restriction on equality that all employers should take a really hard look at. Measures that limit a woman's right to choose are damaging and have wide-ranging implications on women's careers and their lives.
Fundamentally, inclusion is about everyone having equitable opportunities for success. In this case, we're talking about approximately 50% of the population facing greater challenges to full participation in the workforce. Companies that profess to care about issues of equity, inclusion, and belonging must care about this issue, just like they should care about any barrier to success that disproportionately affects a particular population.
In order for our organization to uphold its values and provide an equitable environment where everyone has the same opportunities, we cannot stand idly by in the face of legislation that would limit 50% of the population's autonomy and self-determination in the form of how and when to expand their family.
This is a systemic issue that disproportionately affects poor women and women of color, who already have less access to comprehensive healthcare, including contraception. When compounded by the lack of access to legal abortions, combined with medical racism, these restrictive laws may lead to higher rates of mortality.
Execs are increasingly being asked to speak out on social issues. They're also being asked to care for the whole employee and be more inclusive. But for a while, company leaders were silent on
Fundamentally, over the last decade, the employee-employer social contract has changed. Our work is inside our homes and employees expect more than a paycheck; they expect to be cared for by their employer and to be able to show up in the workplace as their whole professional selves.
As an employer with a globally distributed workforce, it's crucial for us to consider the health, wellbeing, equity, and inclusion of all of our employees and to support them where they are. Access to abortion and, more broadly, reproductive health care supports equitable participation in the workforce for everyone – including birthing parents and their partners.
Any other thoughts?
The more this is talked about, the more likely it is that other companies will take a look at their own stance on these issues. I hope that by continuing to engage in this conversation, we can inspire others to do more to care for all of their employees.
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