March 18, 2022
Citigroup Inc. is starting to cover travel costs for U.S.-based employees seeking an abortion as more states pass new abortion restrictions, according to Bloomberg News.
The policy covers certain expenses, such as airfare and lodging, for staff who must travel out of state to receive an abortion.
“In response to changes in reproductive healthcare laws in certain states in the U.S., beginning in 2022 we provide travel benefits to facilitate access to adequate resources,” Citi wrote in a filing for its shareholders meeting set for April 26.
In Texas, Citigroup has more than 8,500 employees, Bloomberg reported. Last year, the state barred abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur around six weeks of pregnancy. Under the law, private citizens can sue anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion past the cutoff date, including doctors, clinic workers and people who transport a pregnant person to and from an abortion clinic.
Earlier this week, the Idaho House approved a six-week abortion bill modeled after the Texas law. The Idaho Senate approved the legislation earlier this month, and the bill now heads to Gov. Brad Little to be signed. The law could take effect in April, according to The Washington Post.
Citi joins a number of companies that have provided resources for employees in response to strict abortion laws, according to Axios. Lyft and Uber have announced that they will cover legal fees for drivers sued under the Texas law.
Match Group Inc., a Dallas-based company that owns some of the biggest dating apps, said it would create a fund to cover costs for employees and dependents who need to seek care outside of Texas, Bloomberg reported. Bumble, based in Austin, has created a similar fund.
Citigroup’s filing also included updates about other health and wellness programs. Beginning in early 2020, the company expanded its paid parental leave policy for employees to receive 16 weeks of paid maternity leave or four weeks of paid parental leave.
Citi is also broadening its gender affirmation medical coverage and incorporating the coverage into its basic medical plan around the world.
To combat fatigue, the company has launched two different sabbatical programs that allow employees to recharge for 12 weeks or volunteer with a charitable institution for up to four weeks.
“More and more companies are being forced to take stands on issues because of the demands of some stakeholders that antagonize other stakeholders,” Witold Henisz, director the Political Risk Lab at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, told Reuters.“Millennial workers and consumers demand that companies take stands and look to CEOs especially where the government has failed to act or taken a stand of which they disapprove,” he said. “This will continue to grow as a strategic challenge for companies.”