May 5, 2022
Photo: Kate Sade/Unsplash
Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: How an overturned Roe v. Wade will change the relationship between tech companies and their employees, why Amazon’s new abortion travel benefit is more important than you think, and the latest stats on job seeker confidence.
This week, it’s been challenging to think about anything besides the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade: what it means for the future, for you, for your loved ones and for the communities where you live and work. For managers and company leaders, it also means thinking about how this might change their responsibilities towards employees who would be affected by such a ruling.
Ahead of Monday night’s news, the tech industry had already started preparing for the erosion of abortion rights, efforts which I expect will start to ramp up.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, companies with presences in states where abortion will be illegal will have a decision to make: Stay or leave? Thirteen states have “trigger laws” that would ban abortion immediately if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.
That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of these companies are also complicit in moving anti-abortion legislation forward.
It may seem cognitively dissonant for companies to be stepping up in this way to help their employees access abortions. But many would argue that reproductive rights are critical to workplace equity as abortion access is inherently tied to women’s roles in economies and labor markets around the world. Ending that would erase decades of economic gains for half of the workforce.
And in a country like the U.S. with no federally mandated paid maternity leave, high health care costs, no universal subsidized child care and limited caregiver support, the burden carried by working parents is high, and so is the corresponding pressure for companies that care about retaining those workers. It’s a high bar for everyone, and it’s a reflection of where our federal government has failed us.
Amazon announced mere hours before the Supreme Court draft decision leaked that it would be granting employees an unusual new benefit: $4,000 to travel for out-of-state health care, including abortions. This is a big deal, because Amazon is the nation’s second-largest private employer, surpassed only by Walmart. My colleague Anna Kramer elaborated on the details in her latest story. She points out that over 1 million people work for Amazon in the U.S., and the majority of those work in blue-collar, lower-wage positions in its fulfillment centers and logistics networks. Meanwhile, abortion bans primarily affect health care for these same people, who are less likely to have the funds to travel to places where abortion remains legal.
The speed at which security has been built up over the last 12 months has been a derivative benefit of what we’ve seen during the pandemic. Privacy, compliance and security are three legs of the same stool. What we’re seeing increasingly is that intersection continuing to happen. RingCentral has invested in all those elements.
It’s been a stressful couple of days! Maybe you’re looking for some calmness. Michelle helpfully sent the Workplace team a seven-minute guided meditation from Naomi Osaka. Relax, and enjoy.— Lizzy Lawrence, reporter (email | twitter)
ZipRecruiter just released its first Job Seeker Confidence Index report, which measures how “optimistic or pessimistic” job seekers are about their chances when it comes to landing their dream job. According to the report, increased confidence points to future growth in wages and labor force participation, while lower confidence signifies a more dampened outlook.
The hiring crisis is real. ZoomInfo’s solution: buying the employer review site Comparably.
Meta is partnering with Coursera to launch entry-level skills courses, the latest in Big Tech’s efforts to grow the talent pool.
SafeGraph CEO on abortion data: “I think it’s good that we were called out.”
At RingCentral, we’re focused on making hybrid work simpler for organizations so they can best set up, run and manage their business. We’re asking ourselves what's the benefit that we can derive, or that we can enable, that is better than the best-in-class in the industry?
A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.
Happy AAPI month: Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women lose over $1 million in their lifetimes due to the wage gap.
Remember California’s four-day workweek bill? It’s been shelved.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day, see you Sunday.