Major ad holding companies to fund staff travel for abortion access

Three of the ad industry’s largest agency holding companies have revamped their benefits packages to fund travel for women seeking abortions in the US, in wake of the Supreme Court’s leaked memo.

IPG and Publicis committed to funding travel for women in the country seeking abortion access. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

The ad industry is starting to react to the momentous implications of Roe v. Wade in the U.S.

U.S.-based Interpublic Group and France-based Publicis Groupe on Monday confirmed to Campaign U.S. that they will commit to funding travel for women in the country seeking abortion access. 

In an email, a spokesperson told Campaign US that “IPG is updating our healthcare benefits to provide funding for travel that allows consistent access to healthcare, including abortion care and other critical medical services.”

Publicis also notified employees in a virtual roundtable with CEO Arthur Sadoun on Wednesday that it will continue to support reproductive healthcare for employees in the U.S., including supporting access to travel for abortions, according a spokesperson.  

IPG and Publicis join WPP, which on Friday revealed in a leaked memo from CEO Mark Read to U.S. staffers that the holding company was updating its healthcare benefits to include travel funding for employees in the country seeking abortion access. 

“Many of you have spoken to me and your agency leadership teams following changes in the laws governing reproductive healthcare in the U.S. at the state level, and the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft majority opinion on Roe v. Wade,” the memo said. “We don’t know the full details or impact of these potential changes in reproductive rights yet, but we do know we want our people to have the same health coverage regardless of where they live.”

Campaign U.S. also reached out to Stagwell, which declined to comment. Omnicom did not respond to a request for comment.

The ad industry is starting to react to the implications of Roe v. Wade while their clients remain largely silent on the divisive issue. Last week, PR firm Edelman and subsidiary Zeno Group came under fire for advising its high-profile corporate clients to keep quiet on the topic.

Advertising agencies are dealing with an unprecedented talent crisis and are seeking to retain staff looking for more support and flexibility in the workplace after the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions regarding access to healthcare come as holding companies face high employee turnover and a tight labor market.

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