Employees say they need clarity on benefits of abortion access

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Employers may be able to boost employee engagement by tackling issues such as access to abortion, but they will need to do so in a clear and deliberate way, according to a recent report.

Employees who responded to a recent survey were twice as likely to say their organization genuinely cares about the needs of their employees if their organization met Roe vs. Wadereverses, compared to companies that have done nothing, an October 25 report from Catalyst revealed.

These actions included making a statement, extending or highlighting the benefits of reproductive care or encouraging workplace conversations about the issue – making it clear that the benefits of access to abortion could be a talent differentiator in the marketplace.

But almost half of employees surveyed (44%) said their organizations were not doing enough to ensure access to abortion for employees, and 59% said they wanted more clarity around the policies of their employers.

“Organizational leaders cannot afford to ignore sensitive work issues,” Catalyst said in announcing its findings. “Employees expect their organizations to take meaningful action in response to Roe vs. Wade being knocked down – and when they do, employees believe their organization really cares about meeting their needs.

In the immediate wake of the Dobbs decision that ended deer‘s protections – a decision that was leaked early – employers were divided on this, if any, to offer, according to a June poll by the Society for Human Resource Management. The most common reproductive benefits offered according to this survey included paid time off to access care as well as PTOs to attend protests.

But many employers have started offering abortion travel benefits – although it may vary. Some offer a travel stipend to access care, which may be the most popular model among early adopters, while SHRM’s survey noted that employees could use the existing HSA to access funds for health services. (although most in this survey said they would not change their HSA contributions if they knew employees could use it for abortion-related travel).

Anything an employer chooses to do – or not do – will be viewed by employees as a statement, so employers need to move forward with intention, experts said during a Mercer webinar in July. Abortion access benefits may also increasingly become part of job search for some members of the workforce, Resume Builder Data Displayed.

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