Google allows US staff to move interstate for legal abortions

Google increases parental leave to 14 weeks for working parentsTechnology firm Google will allow US workers to move to another state in order to access legal abortions, with its benefits plan and health insurance covering out-of-state medical procedures when unavailable where an employee lives and works.

This follows the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn landmark case Roe v Wade, removing the constitutional right to abortion. Restrictions took effect in 13 states as a result of Friday’s ruling, with several other Republican-led states expected to ban abortion within the next 30 days.

Much of Google’s workforce is located in California, where abortion rights have been protected, but it has 29 office locations across the country, including in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin, where abortion is either currently illegal, or laws restricting or banning it are likely to come into place in the future.

Fiona Cicconi, chief people officer at Google, sent the announcement in a memo to employees, explaining that the decision to overturn Roe v Wade was a “profound change for the country that deeply affects so many of us, especially women.” She asked staff to be mindful of what co-workers may be feeling and to treat each other with respect.

Cicconi added: “To support Googlers and their dependants, our US benefits plan and health insurance covers out-of-state medical procedures that are not available where an employee lives and works. Googlers can also apply for relocation without justification, and those overseeing this process will be aware of the situation.

“We will be arranging support sessions for Googlers in the US in the coming days. These will be posted to Googler News. Please don’t hesitate to lean on your Google community in the days ahead and continue to take good care of yourselves and each other.”

Susan Wojcicki, chief executive officer (CEO) of Google-owned YouTube, said via Twitter: “As a CEO I recognise there are a spectrum of opinions on the SCOTUS ruling today. As a woman, it’s a devastating setback. I personally believe every woman should have a choice about how and when to become a mother. Reproductive rights are human rights.”