The Justice Department staffed association on Wednesday called on the Biden administration to mitigate the impact of the expected repeal of Roe v. Wade on federal workers, in some cases granting administrative leave.

Earlier this month, Politico reported a the draft opinion has expired written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, which will overturn Rowe v. Wade, eliminating the right of Americans to have abortions. Although a final decision is not expected until next month, the news sparked a political firestorm, with the Biden administration looking for ways to help millions of Americans in states who are willing to impose severe restrictions or ban abortions altogether.

Gender Equality Network of the Ministry of Justice, an association of about 1,100 employees of the Ministry of Justice, send a letter to Director of Human Resources Management Kieran Ahuja, Director of Management and Budget Shalanda Young and White House Gender Policy Chair Jennifer Klein with his own idea: offer paid administrative leave to federal workers who have to travel through the United States borders to seek abortion and other reproductive health services after the 49-year precedent is overturned.

The group estimates that 150,000 federal officials in Texas and Mississippi no longer actually have access to abortions in the state due to laws that underlie a legal challenge currently being considered by the Supreme Court. Another 227,000 federal workers live in the 11 states with so-called “trigger laws” that are designed to work automatically in the event of Rowe v. Wade repealed, while an additional 290,000 federal workers live in the nine states that still have abortion bans on books from before Roe. And another 131,000 federal workers live in the four states, where officials have promised to adopt new abortion bans following expected Supreme Court action.

Referring to the administration’s decision last year to give federal workers paid leave to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the association said giving federal workers leave to seek abortion services would be a good first step. to “reduce harm” to employees. The need is becoming even more apparent as officials in some states are considering outlawing other reproductive health services, such as fertility treatment and some forms of contraception.

“As a first step, we ask the administration to quickly consider requiring federal agencies to provide administrative leave to cover the time it takes for an employee or family member of an employee to travel to another state to receive reproductive health services,” which are not available in their own country due to restrictive laws, “the group wrote. “This is a critical issue for equality and gender equality for the Ministry of Justice and the federal government. We are also concerned about the disproportionate impact that these restrictions on reproductive health care would have on colored workers, those working in remote areas and those from other marginalized communities.

The association said granting administrative leave is especially important because federal employees who would benefit from the benefit are more likely to be early-career workers who may not have large banks with unused annual leave and sick leave. at your disposal. And they argue that the decision will not contradict existing bans on federal abortion costs, as the leave is off-pay.

“As you know, sick leave and annual leave for federal workers are limited, especially in their early years working for the government,” the group wrote. “[This] the action would not run counter to Hyde’s amendment, which restricts the use of federal funding in most cases for the abortion procedure itself, but does not impose restrictions on ancillary conditions.

If the federal government starts offering federal workers leave to travel to receive reproductive health services, it will join a growing list of large employers providing similar benefits to their workforce. The association argues that such a decision by the country’s largest employer could encourage more companies to follow suit.

“The granting of administrative leave to travel workers will put the federal government on a similar footing with major employers across the country, who are already providing travel assistance to employees who have to cross state borders to receive reproductive health care,” the group said. “These employers know that this is important for recruitment and retention, as well as for diversity, fairness, inclusion and access within their workforce. They have also decided that this is just the right thing to send a powerful message. “

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