Given the flurry of major new and changing laws, such as the recent US Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, GCs have increasingly been called in to recommend updates to company human resources policies.
Noting the trend that several states were moving toward restricting or banning abortion and criminalizing gender-affirming healthcare, Glowforge decided to craft a new policy to provide employees the healthcare they promised. As a remote-first company, we have staff nationwide. We promised them equitable and fair healthcare, and it’s incumbent on us to provide it. To do otherwise would be to betray the commitments we made when they joined our company.
Glowforge has four cornerstones:
- Hire diverse and amazing people;
- Take care of each other;
- Delight our customers, present and future; and
- Build value for ourselves and for our company.
When we bring our diverse and amazing people onboard, we promise them a certain level of healthcare. It’s a key part of the reason people choose to come to Glowforge, and it’s important that we keep that promise.
As a remote-first company, we have people all over the United States. We promised them all equitable and fair healthcare, and now it’s incumbent on us to provide it. To do otherwise would be to betray the commitments we made when they joined our company.
Flight to Safety
To support this need, we developed our Flight to Safety Policy. The Flight to Safety Policy provides Glowforge payment for transportation and lodging for employees that need abortion or gender-affirming care, where that care isn’t legal in their state.
We drafted it, published it, and rolled it out two days before the first draft of the US Supreme Court case opinion reviewing Roe v. Wade leaked.
In developing the Flight to Safety Policy, Glowforge considered tax implications, employment law implications, and disparate impact. We drafted it to ensure we wouldn’t inadvertently offer coverage for quack remedies that might be banned with good reason. We thought through insurance coverage and consulted with our brokers. We worked with outside counsel and reviewed our travel and handbook policies to reconcile. We carefully considered the breadth of the policy (should it include spouses, partners, minors, etc.), how to handle confidential health information, the financial impact, the cultural implications, and the brand messaging, and landed on a policy we are proud of and that we feel takes care of our employees. No policy is perfect and every organization needs to assess their own culture, brand, risk tolerance, and financial position. There are considerations such as creating an Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), using outside third parties to administer, applying to add a travel component to your insurance policies, whether or not you have government contracts, your infrastructure setup to handle HIPAA related information, and so much more. Our goal wasn’t a political statement, but instead to fulfill our commitments to our employees.
Sharing best practices
Since Glowforge enacted the policy, 72 companies — from tiny startups to the Fortune 100 — have asked for a copy so they can follow suit. We are happy to share, so any company can draw from our work and join us in taking care of their people. Megan, Glowforge’s GC, is also happy to connect and discuss. Reach out to her on LinkedIn.
Glowforge’s Flight to Safety policy is published as a sample resource in ACC’s Resource Library.
Disclaimer: The information in any resource in this website should not be construed as legal advice or as a legal opinion on specific facts, and should not be considered representing the views of its authors, its sponsors, and/or ACC. These resources are not intended as a definitive statement on the subject addressed. Rather, they are intended to serve as a tool providing practical guidance and references for the busy in-house practitioner and other readers.