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With abortion rights in danger, some S.F. companies will pay for employee access – San Francisco Chronicle

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Levi Strauss & Co., which has its Levi’s Plaza in San Francisco, has said that it will reimburse employees who have to travel out of their state for abortion access.
Abortion rights supporters rally Tuesday in support of Roe v. Wade outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland.
With the Supreme Court poised to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, a growing number of San Francisco companies are committing to support abortion access by paying for employee travel expenses.
Employers, particularly in the tech industry, are also condemning the potential ruling, which would upend nearly five decades of federal protections for abortion.
Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. said Tuesday that protecting abortion access is “a business imperative,” and that it already reimbursed employees who had to travel out of state for services that weren’t available, including abortion.
“We know this is a fraught conversation; it’s not something we enter into lightly. But women make up 58% of our global workforce, and in recent years, numerous employees have expressed to leadership their growing alarm over the rollback of all forms of reproductive care,” the company said.
The data storage company Box said Wednesday that it will continue to provide paid time off and pay for expenses for employees to obtain abortions. “The potential ruling opens the door to the infringement of basic human rights and goes against our core values at Box of creating a safe, equitable, and inclusive workplace,” the company said.
Dylan Field, CEO of San Francisco tech firm Figma, told employees Tuesday that it will provide relocation assistance if Roe v. Wade is overturned. “No one should be forced to have a child. And no child should be forced to grow up in a home where they are not wanted,” Field wrote in a Slack message that he shared publicly.
Last month, business reviews company Yelp said it will cover travel expenses for employees who have to travel for abortions. The company has 200 workers in Texas, which passed more restrictive abortion measures last year. This week, the company called on Congress to pass abortion protections and for other businesses to support access to abortion.
Uber and Lyft said last year they would pay legal fees of drivers who were sued under the Texas law, and Apple also committed to pay for abortion travel expenses.
Yelp is among the San Francisco companies that have said it will cover travel expenses for employees who have to travel for abortions.
Yelp, Lyft and Box were among several San Francisco companies that signed a statement last fall opposing the Texas bill, saying it “threatens the health, independence, and economic stability of our workers and customers.”
They included San Francisco tech firms Twilio, Zendesk and Asana and fashion-focused startups Stitch Fix, Everlane and TheRealReal.
Zendesk said it is providing 15 days of paid time off to support employees during pregnancy loss, including abortion and miscarriage. The other firms didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff said last September that the company would help employees relocate out of Texas if they wanted to leave.
Some tech giants are staying quiet, even as executives speak out against the bill.
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook parent company Meta, wrote that “if the leaked draft opinion becomes the law of the land, one of our most fundamental rights will be taken away. Every woman, no matter where she lives, must be free to choose whether and when she becomes a mother. Few things are more important to women’s health and equality.” Meta declined to comment further.
Other major employers based outside of California have also committed to pay for travel expenses, including Amazon and Citigroup.
The corporate efforts are already drawing backlash. Abortion opponent Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a bill Wednesday that would prohibit tax deductions for company expenses related to travel for employee abortions or their children’s gender-affirming care.
The move comes after Rubio’s home state stripped a special tax district from Disney after the entertainment giant opposed another controversial bill, which bars discussing topics around sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: roland.li@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rolandlisf
Roland Li covers commercial real estate for the business desk, focusing on the Bay Area office and retail sectors.
He was previously a reporter at San Francisco Business Times, where he won one award from the California News Publishers Association and three from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.
He is the author of “Good Luck Have Fun: The Rise of eSports,” a 2016 book on the history of the competitive video game industry. Before moving to the Bay Area in 2015, he studied and worked in New York. He freelanced for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other local publications. His hobbies include swimming and urban photography.

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