Starbucks on Monday announced it will cover travel expenses for U.S. employees seeking abortions and gender-confirmation procedures but who do not have access within 100 miles of their home.
The announcement comes after the leak of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court arguing for overturning its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right to abortion. The draft was obtained earlier this month by Politico.
Sara Kelly, Starbucks acting executive vice president of partner resources, said in a letter Monday that “regardless of where you live or what you believe, partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare will now be offered reimbursement for eligible travel expenses when accessing abortion or gender-affirming procedures when those services are not available within 100 miles of a partner’s home.”
Kelly also wrote that “regardless of what the Supreme Court ends up deciding, we will always ensure our partners have access to quality healthcare. And when actions impact your access to healthcare, we will work on a way to make sure you feel supported.”
The benefit will also be available to dependents of employees in Starbucks’ health care plan. The coffee giant has approximately 240,000 U.S. employees.
Starbucks joins a group of companies that have assured workers they will help pay for travel to seek an abortion or help workers leave states over abortion laws, including Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla and other employers.
A Starbucks spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY that the travel benefit will be available to employees who take part in the company's health care plan, regardless of whether the employee works in a store that has voted to unionize.
The spokesperson also noted that the travel reimbursement is an expansion of existing health care benefits at the company, which include abortions and gender-affirming care. They did not confirm when the travel benefit will take effect.
Earlier this month, the company announced boosted benefits and pay for workers at non-union stores.
CEO Howard Schultz said Starbucks is not allowed to offer benefits at the union stores because they negotiate their contracts.
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Starbucks joins Amazon to pay for travel for workers seeking abortions