The overturning of Roe v. Wade not only brings organizations and their members a mix of emotions but also a concern for its impact on HR practices. We compiled below some of the areas to consider as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Let’s start with the basics. Employees bring their whole selves to work. As leaders, understand and acknowledge that many of your team members may be struggling with their emotions right now. Respectfully manage feelings with empathy, compassion, and concern (even if you don’t agree with some of their views on abortion). Create a safe space for respectful conversations, offer mental health resources, and train your managers on how to keep their activism in check when supporting their teams.
Speak with your health insurance vendor, broker, or PEO about changes in the plans you offer.
o Ask about details such as emergency medical procedures, contraceptive methods, fertility treatments, prescriptions, and treatment for miscarriages. What medical procedures, medicines, or treatments are still covered in all the states you plan to hire and currently employ?
o Keep in mind that while you may have established a group plan in one state, sometimes, policies are issued in other states, where the insurance vendor or PEO is headquartered. This location can affect your benefits and the vendor’s intent to change their stance on reproductive health coverage.
Take a stance – One of the learnings we have from the Great Reshuffle is that employees want to work for employers with values aligned with theirs; workers want to work for mission-driven companies. While it may be hard to please all your employees or the communities you serve, keep in mind that if you don’t offer an opinion on reproductive healthcare and abortion, your employees will make assumptions.
Be an employer of choice. Think about where your employees reside. Would any employees or their dependents be affected by this ruling? Consider providing a stipend to cover travel expenses. When drafting a policy, keep the following in mind:
o Utilize inclusive language.
o Think about covered reasons (e.g., all medical emergencies or only reproductive health-related travel).
o Define whether the benefit will be taxable or nontaxable, and consider the implications of each one of those options.
o Provide an amount that would cover travel as well as medical expenses.
o Decide if you will make this stipend available every occurrence or specified times a year.
o Explain how you will keep the information confidential.
o Clarify what kind of documentation, if any, you will request to be submitted.
o Consider offering this benefit to all employees regardless of whether or not they have elected into your medical plan.
o Contemplate extending the benefit to dependents.
o Set up distance requirements (e.g., medical necessities beyond a 100-mile radius).
Remember legal protections such as ADA, EEOC, FMLA, PDA, Title VII, and NLRA.
Employees have a right to express their views about abortion and contemplate or have (or not have) an abortion.
Review your bereavement leave policy to explore adding miscarriages as a reason to use bereavement leave.
Look at your criminal record policy; we likely will start seeing higher numbers of arrests and convictions of people due to their decisions related to abortions. Ensure your policy does not have strict language that will prohibit those workers from joining or continuing to work for you.
Evaluate your remote/hybrid/in-office policies; some staff members may consider relocating to other states (or even other countries) due to this Supreme Court’s decision.
These are uncertain times. Reach out to Kiwi Partners’ HR Services to rise to the challenges, and lead your team with compassion and courage.