There are many unknowns in the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. For the first time in nearly five decades, women and people who can become pregnant do not have a constitutional right to an abortion. Following the landmark SCOTUS decision, many employers quickly took a stand to support their employees — for example, through new policies providing assistance for abortion travel or issuing public statements in defense of reproductive rights. We did this at Indeed, too, and are proud of our commitment to supporting this fundamental human right. 

As both employers and employees learn to navigate this shifting political and health climate, Indeed wanted to dig deeper. In the weeks after the SCOTUS ruling, we surveyed 1,011 full-time workers from across the U.S. to learn how they feel about reproductive rights as an employee benefit, and how overturning Roe had shifted their thinking. Our new data shows that supporting reproductive health care isn’t just the right thing for employers to do, it’s also top of mind for workers. In fact, this issue is now so important for employees that it could likely impact their decision to remain at or leave their current employer, as well as what companies they might consider joining moving forward. 

Reproductive health benefits important to nearly all workers

Among workers surveyed, 43% say their companies issued a statement asserting a stance on the SCOTUS ruling, and that 88% of these were opposed to overturning abortion access. This resonated with most employees: 82% are satisfied with their employer’s action, and majorities believe it will have a positive impact on attracting new talent (86%) and retaining current workers (85%). As for employees at companies that have remained silent, 28% expect a statement coming soon, while 24% report feeling disappointed by the inaction.

Yet actions speak louder than words, and 89% of employees say it is important that their company offers reproductive health benefits. In fact, 41% say that, after the fall of Roe, they would not work at a company that does not offer these benefits, while 57% say they will pay more attention to these offerings when considering future employers. But what benefits are employees actually getting right now?

Significant numbers say their company offers financial assistance for fertility-related treatments (36%) and adoption (34%). But a significant gap emerges when it comes to abortion: only 17% of workers say their companies provided abortion-care assistance prior to the fall of Roe. In the current environment, this has become a key issue for nearly half of employees: 47% say they would not work for a company that does not offer abortion care assistance, and 43% cite this as an important factor in determining where they work. Notably, this trend was especially pronounced among Gen Z workers (ages 18-25). 

Many employers pivoting to meet needs of new political climate

This is a stressful time for workers, but the good news is that many employers are stepping up — and quickly. Forty-three percent of respondents whose companies did not previously offer abortion care assistance have changed their stance since Roe was overturned. Interestingly, 71% of respondents say this new benefit was only announced internally. The policies themselves vary, such as providing financial assistance for travel (reported by 60%) or related medical services (73%).

Rolling out new policies can be challenging, but employers have acted swiftly to support their staff. For instance, 63% of respondents say their companies have already provided actionable steps to help workers leverage these new reproductive health benefits, and 54% report that their company handbooks have been updated. These are critical details, since new policies are only helpful if employees are empowered with the knowledge to use them.

Employers that don’t take action face potential risks with hiring and retention

Even with these increasingly important policies on the books, employees are grappling with concerns and uncertainty. For instance, among workers whose companies now offer abortion care assistance, 74% are worried about privacy issues if they choose to utilize this benefit, and 72% are concerned about potential legal implications. 

These policies also raise important questions about disclosing personal information. Eighty percent of workers who have access to abortion assistance say they would have to disclose their predicament to their direct manager, but 13% would feel uncomfortable doing so; meanwhile, 2% would likely not utilize the benefit if they were forced to disclose.

Despite this, Indeed’s data suggest companies that don’t take action risk trouble with hiring and retention: 38% percent of respondents say they’re currently, or considering, looking for a new job at a company that provides abortion benefits, with Gen Z workers even more likely. Meanwhile, 43% of respondents would consider leaving their company for one that offers abortion care benefits, pointing to significant chances for churn. Finally, a significant number of workers say the reproductive health landscape could impact where they choose to live and work in the future: 38% are considering moving to a new state as a result of the SCOTUS ruling. 

Reproductive health benefits take center stage

The decision to overturn Roe v Wade has had a tremendous impact on many employees and employers, and we are still navigating this new and ambiguous terrain. However, Indeed’s research shows clearly that reproductive health benefits are top-of-mind for a majority of employees, and employer responses can have a lasting impact on talent attraction and retention.

Many employers have already taken a stand, whether through public support for reproductive rights or internal benefits, yet these issues warrant a closer look. Employees are watching carefully, and while concerns remain around privacy and potential legal implications, nearly half will prioritize a company’s stance on abortion care moving forward. The good news is that it’s not too late for employers to step up. For those that have not yet taken action or would like to do more, Indeed’s chief marketing officer, Jessica Jensen, recently offered these suggestions for how to support employees.

Ultimately, while the future of U.S. reproductive rights is ambiguous, many workers will be looking to employers to guide them through this shifting terrain — and will take note of companies that are not on board.