Employers Prepare Benefits and Policy Responses to Abortion Ruling, SHRM Survey Finds

Stephen Miller, CEBS By Stephen Miller, CEBS June 24, 2022
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Employers Prepare Benefits and Policy Responses to Abortion Ruling, SHRM Survey Finds

Many employers are prepared to revisit employee benefits and leave policies in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortions across the U.S., a new survey of HR professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows.

The Supreme Court's June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization lets individual states allow or restrict abortion access, with a wide variety of state abortion laws expected to emerge.

The SHRM Research Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,003 HR professionals from May 24, 2022, to June 7, 2022, shortly before the Supreme Court's widely anticipated ruling and after a draft of the decision had been leaked to the press in early May. Here are some key findings from the survey.

Formal Position Statements

Most organizations (97 percent) did not issue a statement regarding the Supreme Court's leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

Respondents indicated that employees (94 percent), clients/customers (96 percent) and stakeholders (96 percent) did not have a reaction to their organization not issuing a statement on the draft opinion leak.

"Many employers were reticent to take a formal position on the draft leak," said Casey Sword, a researcher at SHRM. "However, that could change based on the court's opinion, as employees, customers and stakeholders increasingly expect their organizations to take a stance on social issues."

Benefits and Resources

When asked to name the top five resources or benefits they currently provide to employees to better support reproductive care, which includes abortion access, respondents answered:

  • Paid time off (PTO) to access reproductive care (32 percent).
  • Unpaid time off to attend marches, protests, demonstrations and similar events in support of reproductive rights (18 percent).
  • PTO to attend marches, protests, demonstrations and similar events in support of reproductive rights (15 percent).
  • Travel expense benefits (gasoline, airfare, hotels) outside of a health savings account (HSA) for employees to access abortion and reproductive services that are not accessible in their state of residence (5 percent).
  • Company matches (including double matches) for employee donations to groups that support reproductive rights (4 percent).

When asked to name the top six resources or benefits that employers do not currently offer but are thinking of offering to better support abortion access/reproductive care, respondents answered:

  • PTO for employees to access reproductive care (7 percent).
  • Relief funds for employees to access reproductive care (7 percent).
  • Travel expense benefits (gasoline, airfare, hotels) outside of an HSA for employees to access reproductive services that are not accessible in their state of residence (6 percent).
  • Unpaid time off to attend marches, protests, demonstrations and similar events in support of reproductive rights (6 percent).
  • Company matches (or double matches) for employee donations to groups that support reproductive rights (5 percent).
  • PTO to attend marches, protests, demonstrations and similar events in support of reproductive rights (5 percent).

Business Tax Deductibility

Over one-third of organizations (35 percent) would not be more likely to provide travel expense benefits (gasoline, airfare, hotel fees) outside of an HSA for employees to access abortion and reproductive services, even if those payments were tax-deductible as a business expense related to health coverage; 6 percent would be more likely to provide travel expense benefits if deductible from business taxes, and 59 percent are unsure.

HSA Contributions

Knowing that employees can use HSA funds for travel-related expenses to receive reproductive care in another state, organizations that currently make employer contributions to employees' HSAs responded as follows:

  • Most organizations (87 percent) would not change their contributions to employees' HSAs.
  • 10 percent would consider increasing their employer contributions.
  • 3 percent would consider decreasing their employer contributions.

When asked of all respondents who don't currently offer an HSA to employees:

  • 76 percent of organizations would still be unlikely to consider adopting an HSA in the next year.
  • 24 percent would be likely to adopt one.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Nearly one-quarter of organizations (24 percent) agree that offering an HSA for employees' travel-related expenses to receive abortion services/reproductive health care in another state will enhance their ability to compete for talent, while 18 percent disagree and 58 percent neither agree nor disagree.

Among HR respondents at companies that said providing travel-related expenses would enhance their ability to compete for talent:

  • 33 percent work at extra-large organizations (more than 5,000 employees).
  • 25 percent work at large organizations (500-4,999 employees).
  • 15 percent work at medium-sized organizations (100-499 employees).
  • 20 percent work at small organizations (1-99 employees).

Changes to DE&I Programs

Top anticipated changes to organizations' diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts if Roe v. Wade is overturned include:

  • Increasing support within an employee assistance program for abortion access/reproductive care (29 percent).
  • Providing resources for employees to get additional information, advice or counseling (such as from a county health department, Planned Parenthood or women's services organizations) (24 percent).
  • Providing time off for employees and their significant other (or caretaker) needing reproductive care, physical health or mental health (17 percent).
  • Incorporating within the company’s DE&I programs the topic of abortion access/reproductive rights (14 percent).
  • Increasing women’s reproductive coverage in employee health care benefits (13 percent).


Related SHRM Articles:

Employers Providing Abortion Benefits Should Address Compliance QuestionsSHRM Online, June 2022

Employers Likely to Revisit Abortion Coverage, Other Benefits, with Roe OverturnedSHRM Online, updated June 2022


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