Amazon to cover $4K in travel costs for employee abortions, non-life-threatening medical treatments

The reimbursement applies if an operation is not available within 100 miles of an employee's home and virtual care is not possible

Starting Monday, Amazon will cover up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for employees who get non-life-threatening medical treatments, including abortions.

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An internal message first reported by Reuters and confirmed by FOX Business notes that the new reimbursement is available to the company's U.S. corporate and warehouse employees or covered dependents enrolled in Premera or Aetna health plans. 

The policy, which is effective retroactively from Jan. 1, applies if an operation is not available within 100 miles of an employee's home and virtual care is not possible. In addition to abortions, Amazon's new policy also covers treatments related to cardiology, cellular gene therapies, oncology and substance abuse disorder services. 

Amazon also offers up to $10,000 in annual travel reimbursements for life-threatening issues.

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The U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule by the end of June in a case that gives its conservative majority a chance to roll back abortion rights or even overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the procedure nationwide. About two dozen states, including Oklahoma and Alabama, have laws poised to limit abortion access should the Roe ruling be overturned.

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Other companies that have offered to cover travel expenses for employees seeking abortions include Citigroup and Yelp. 

Meanwhile, Lyft and Uber said they would cover legal fees for drivers sued under Texas' new law limiting access to abortions.

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Bumble and Match Group have also established relief funds for Texas women seeking abortions, and Salesforce offered to help its employees relocate out of the Lone Star State in response to the law.

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In addition to the reimbursement policy, Amazon has returned to standard sick leave policies. Starting Monday, all U.S. employees will receive up to five days of excused, unpaid time for a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, regardless of vaccination status. 

Accrued time may be used to cover a COVID-19 related absence and should be reported in Amazon's A to Z platform. With rapid testing widely available, the company will no longer excuse time while waiting for a test result. 

Amazon has also discontinued an incentive that offers employees a $40 bonus for each vaccine dose they get and will no longer send site-wide notifications of positive COVID-19 cases at its facilities unless required by law. In addition, face masks are optional for Amazon's unvaccinated and vaccinated employees, except where required by law. 

Reuters contributed to this report