Amazon to reimburse US staff for travel to access abortions


Online retail business has introduced a policy to reimburse employees for travel expenses for certain medical procedures, including abortions.

The news comes as a leaked draft opinion outed the Supreme Court’s potential decision to overturn landmark abortion protection case Roe v Wade, the most recent development in a long-running erosion of abortion rights in the United States (US).

Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the US, has committed to pay up to $4,000 (£3,196.56) in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments, including abortions.

The policy, effective retroactively from 1 January 2022, will apply to those unable to access treatment within 100 miles of their home, and for whom virtual care is not an option. It has been made available to US employees, either corporate or warehouse, and their covered dependents, who are enrolled in Amazon’s Pemera or Aetna health plans.

Apart from abortions, the reimbursements will also provide for treatments such as cardiology, cellular gene therapies and substance abuse services. Amazon already offers a similar policy, reimbursing up to $10,000 (£7,991.40) in travel expenses for life-threatening concerns.

Other elements of Amazon’s employee benefits proposition include paid life and accident insurance, financial counselling, virtual healthcare services, discounts on certain childcare services, college tuition funding, and a leave sharing arrangement, which allows employees to gift parental leave to a partner who is not eligible at their own employer.

Other US employers to bring in similar policies in response to state laws limiting abortion access include Citigroup and Yelp.