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August 3, 2022   

Two Major Lighting Brands Respond to Roe v. Wade Reversal

2022 08 companies respond dobbs abortion healthcare legrand signify wild ies 3.jpg

Multi-billion-dollar companies expand healthcare coverage while industry leaders share related statements

 

Nearly six weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that reversed the longstanding Roe v. Wade decision and will now allow states to restrict or end abortion access. In the ruling's aftermath, some large U.S. corporations including Apple, Disney, Amazon and JP Morgan said they will pay, or help pay, the travel costs for employees to obtain out-of-state abortions.

It is unclear how widespread the expansion of abortion-related benefits will be throughout the U.S. corporate landscape. In a June survey of more than 1,000 human resources professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Research Institute, only 5% of respondents said their organizations planned to provide travel expenses outside of a health savings account (HSA) for employees to access abortion and reproductive services that are not accessible in their state of residence.

Public statements by lighting industry organizations have been limited, but the topic is one that is seemingly being actively discussed by company executive teams and human resources departments for various design firms, distributors, agents and manufacturers. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve reached out to numerous lighting-related companies and discovered that two multi-billion-dollar manufacturers, Signify and Legrand, have recently announced and expanded employee healthcare coverage in response to the Dobbs ruling.

Signify
The world’s largest lighting maker goes to market in the U.S. under familiar brands including Cooper Lighting Solutions, Philips, Genlyte Solutions and Color Kinetics. As a global company with over 36,000 employees in over 70 countries, Signify employs over 3000 workers in the U.S.

Effective August 1, the company expanded its employee healthcare benefits to include "general travel and lodging coverage for any medical service, including but not limited to abortion/reproductive services, within the continental U.S. and beyond a 100-mile radius from a participating employee’s residence."

Signify went on to tell us, “We are firmly committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our U.S. employees and their households – and to respecting their privacy with regards to these matters. We aim to provide equal access to high-quality medical services and health and wellness programs, so our employees and their dependents can get the care and support they may need.”

Legrand
France-based Legrand is a large global maker of electrical and building infrastructure products. In North America the company has assembled a large portfolio of leading architectural lighting and controls brands that includes Focal Point, Finelite, Wattstopper, Kenall, OCL and Pinnacle Architectural Lighting.

Before the Dobbs ruling, Legrand's employee medical plan had already offered travel reimbursement for certain health services that are not always locally available. In an internal memo last month, Legrand told its employees that the company will expand the travel benefit to include abortion care in states where access is restricted. The policy covers transportation expenses for the services up to a lifetime maximum of $10,000 and took effect August 1st.

Additionally, Legrand told its employees that it will also expand their employee healthcare policy and offer the same travel benefits to employees and their dependents who are seeking gender-affirming care and behavioral health services in states where access is restricted.

When detailing the healthcare coverage expansion to Legrand employees, the company emphasized its diverse workforce with associates who are likely on different sides of these societal issues. Legrand's internal memo further explained its commitment to ensuring that employees and their families have access to healthcare which is covered by Legrand's benefits plan but not available locally.

Other organizations
While Signify and Legrand chose to provide us with an overview of their recent health plan changes following the Dobbs ruling, other companies seem to be in the process of quietly adapting their health care policies to accommodate benefits changes while remaining mostly silent about it.

Lighting organizations Women in Lighting + Design (WILD), the North American Coalition of Lighting Industry Queers (NACLIQ), and Equity in Lighting (EIL) have jointly called on lighting industry companies to offer expanded healthcare and travel benefits to employees who are in states that ban or severely restrict abortion access.

While the staff for the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) is relatively small, the organization continues to be a large influential voice in the lighting industry. Without referencing news or politics, the organization recently published a general statement from IES Executive Director, Colleen Harper, that read in part, "As an employer based in the United States, and understanding that decisions involving health are very personal, we are committed to supporting our staff’s access to whatever healthcare options they may choose and require, now or in the future."

Important footnotes
We spent numerous hours in recent weeks researching this article, but the publishing of only two companies' names is not an indication that Signify and Legrand are the only two lighting-related companies that made, or will make, similar healthcare policy changes. 

There may be companies with whom we didn’t inquire that changed policy. There are companies that “no commented” citing policy to not publicize specific details about employee benefits, that could have made changes. And there are others who seem likely to make changes, but haven’t yet finalized their plans, or are negotiating with healthcare providers to carry out changes to coincide with their next January 1 healthcare plan renewal.

We approached this article carefully, with intent to communicate the facts without raising readers’ collective blood pressure or inciting strong reactions.  Due to the size of Signify and Legrand, there are thousands of lighting people in the U.S. who, as of Monday, have enhanced healthcare benefits which may have been recently impacted by a major change in U.S. law, and that, alone is newsworthy. 

 

 

 

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