The Supreme Court’s extraordinary decision to overturn Roe vs Wade has touched even the world of online sports betting. DraftKings was one of the many companies to respond to the news with an updated employee benefits package that now includes up to $10,000 in travel expense reimbursement for employees who require out-of-state travel for their reproductive healthcare needs.
The news that Roe vs Wade had been overturned did not come as a total surprise following the leak that occurred in May. DraftKings had time to consider how they might respond when the news was made official, and they were ready, joining many other large companies in immediately announcing expansions to their employee benefits package. DraftKings committed to reimbursing employees and their dependents up to $10,000 in travel expenses should they require medical treatment for which access is restricted in the state in which they reside.
DraftKings announced the move with a statement expressing their support for their employees and families. In addition to being available for employees who require an abortion, they also committed to including fertility, gender affirmation, behavioral, or any other covered medical service. In addition, the company is offering a no cost Employee Assistance Program for any employee who needs someone to talk to or requires professional assistance. They are also providing an open forum for employees to discuss the news. The statement was met with praise and support from employees on social media.
DraftKings has their major bases of operation in Massachusetts and Nevada, two states that are unlikely to be impacted by the SCOTUS decision. While the majority of their 3,400 employees reside in states that will probably continue to recognize a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, the proliferation of remote work and the company’s ever-expanding operations make it increasingly likely that some of their employees will be located in states that have already placed restrictions on abortions or will in the near future. This change to their employee benefits package will provide peace of mind for employees and assurance that the company will help to protect their rights and access to needed medical care.
In spite of the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe in the right for women to have an abortion if they chose, the issue is a polarizing one, even among the male-dominated demographic of sports bettors. At the risk of alienating customers, potential customers, and other parties, the company has taken a strong stance by quickly enacting this expansion to their benefits package. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins released a statement about the company’s position, saying “At DraftKings, the health and well-being of our employees and their families is our top priority. DraftKings is committed to supporting our employees and families in states which have already, or might in the future, ban abortion or other critical health and medical services.”
DraftKings’ new benefits policy might be comforting to their employees, but it will not stop the debate on the hotly contentious issue of women’s healthcare. The company’s post on LinkedIn announcing the move generated nearly 2,000 likes and overwhelmingly positive comments. The company however did not share the news via their Facebook and Twitter channels, likely due to the argumentative comments that would undoubtedly ensue from passionate people on both sides of the issue.
No other major sportsbooks worked as quickly as DraftKings to announce an updated employee benefits package, but as some of the largest employers in the states where they operate, sports betting operators will likely have a large number of employees who desire a similar addition to their benefits. Most sportsbook operators would surely prefer to just “stick to sports”, but with the health and well-being of their employees at risk they will need to make a decision and find a policy that meets the needs of their staff in a competitive labor market where employees have more flexibility and choice than ever before.
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