Workforce

Union Square Hospitality will cover abortion-related travel expenses for employees

The New York City-based multi-concept operator, which was founded by restaurateur Danny Meyer, will reimburse up to $1,500 in travel expenses and will provide counseling and other support, the company said.
Union Square Hospitality Group
Photograph: Shutterstock

Starting Friday, all Union Square Hospitality Group workers will be eligible for travel and lodging reimbursement for abortion care if they’re no longer able to receive it near home.

The New York City-based multi-concept operator, which was founded by Danny Meyer, said Wednesday it would provide a $1,500 reimbursement for travel expenses to all workers who no longer have access to reproductive healthcare in their state, or within 100 miles of their home, following the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Abortion remains protected in New York State, but a USHG spokeswoman said the company has several home office employees who work out of state and other workers have dependents in other parts of the country.

“At USHG, we believe that hospitality exists when things happen for you, not to you,” the company said in a statement. “For many, the Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade feels like it happened to us. We strongly believe that all decisions regarding health, safety and wellbeing are fundamental rights that belong solely to each team member and their families.”

In addition to the travel and lodging reimbursement, Union Square will continue to provide essential primary care and mental health services for free to all employees, via contractor Radish Health, including workers who don’t get their health insurance through the company. USHG also has a 24-hour employee assistance program providing free access to counselors.

“We understand that this Supreme Court decision may have affected you greatly and encourage you to reach out to the HR team at any time to find answers to your questions, seek guidance or just talk,” the company said in its note to employees, which was shared with Restaurant Business. “During times of great change and uncertainty, we find comfort in taking care of each other.”

Union Square operates restaurants such as Union Square Café, Tacocina, Gramercy Tavern, Daily Provisions and others.

In addition to USHG, restaurant companies Starbucks, DoorDash, Grubhub and Yelp have said they would cover employee travel expenses to get abortions and other banned medical procedures.

All announced their policies in the weeks leading up to last Friday’s ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion around the country. The reversal triggered abortion bans in 13 states, some immediately, some within the next month, with a total of up to 26 statewide bans likely.

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