Disney subsidiary, Hulu, has slashed maternity and paternity leave at the same time as it has offered to pay for employees to travel to other states to obtain abortions.
Since the overturning of the abortion law in the US, which gave states the power to make their own abortion law earlier this year, a number of major US corporations, including Disney, announced that they would cover the cost of an employee’s travel across state lines for an abortion.
Now, however, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that Hulu, a streaming service owned by Disney, is dramatically cutting back on maternity and paternity benefits. According to the WSJ report, Hulu cut its paid parental leave policy from 20 weeks down to just 8 weeks – a 60% reduction.
Furthermore, the WSJ reports a survey of 3,000 employers found that only 35% now offer paid maternity leave benefits beyond what is mandated by federal law, down from 53% in 2020.
“Companies are sending a not-so-subtle signal to women who want to start a family, and places on them a higher financial burden from the start”.
The impact of the cuts to parental leave at Hulu are already being felt by one working family interviewed for the story: “If my job is cutting back on my parental leave, how am I going to afford child care if I don’t get paid more?” asked Devon Richey, a Texas-based Hulu employee.
At the same time as reducing benefits for families, Disney announced in June that they “remain committed to providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all of our employees, cast members and their families, including family planning and [abortion], no matter where they live”.
Laura Nicole of Live Action News said: “By coming out so enthusiastically in support of abortion while cutting back on parental leave benefits, companies are sending a not-so-subtle signal to women who want to start a family, and places on them a higher financial burden from the start”.
Paying for abortion travel
Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Amazon told its staff that it would reimburse travel expenses for any of its staff travelling more than a hundred miles for an abortion.
In a message to its staff, the company said it would pay up to $4,000 (£3,201) in travel expenses each year for medical interventions including abortion. Amazon’s new scheme will apply retroactively from the beginning of this year.
The president of pro-life group Live Action, Lila Rose, called Amazon out for the new policy. She said it was a way for Amazon to avoid paying maternity fees and get more work out of its employees.
She tweeted: “The ultimate ‘F U’ any boss can give their female employees: I will literally pay 4k for you to kill your child so I don’t need to pay for maternity leave & so you can work extra long hours for me. Extraordinarily gross, @JeffBezos. @amazon”.
The bank, Citigroup, review company, Yelp, and dating app, Bumble, all announced similar policies this year.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said: “Disney is now actively creating incentives for its employees at Hulu to have abortions rather than pursue parenthood. Not only is it paying for travel to procure an abortion, it is also slashing benefits for parents. This is a gross form of utilitarian calculation where it appears that it is seen as cheaper to encourage an employee to have an abortion rather than provide benefits to assist with childrearing”.