Wal-Mart extends health care benefits to workers' domestic partners, including same-sex

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NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will extend its health care benefits to its U.S. workers’ domestic partners, including those of the same sex, starting Jan. 1.

The nation’s largest private employer, which has been a target of attacks by labor groups for what they criticize are skimpy wages and benefits, said Tuesday that the changes were made so it could have one uniform policy for all 50 states at a time when some states have their own definitions of what constitutes domestic partnerships and civil unions.

Employees can enroll their domestic partners from Oct. 12 through Nov. 1.

Wal-Mart defines domestic partners as spouses of the same-sex or opposite gender, and unmarried partners who are not legally separated who have lived together for at least 12 months, are not married to anyone else, are in an exclusive relationship and plan to continue sharing a household indefinitely, says Randy Hargrove, a Wal-Mart spokesman.

“States have different definitions,” Hargrove said. “We are going to have our own definition that will apply to our associates.”

The move, which was announced to Wal-Mart workers in postcards sent to them Monday, follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June to overturn a 1996 law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. So the decision makes the federal government recognize same-sex marriages in states where they are legal.

Wal-Mart also announced it will be offering an eyewear care program, including eye exams, starting next year.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter has 1.3 million full-time and part-time U.S. workers. More than half of the workers participate in health care plans, the company says. About 1.1 million Wal-Mart workers and family members combined participate in Wal-Mart’s health care plan.

Hargrove said that the company’s health care premiums are going up anywhere from 3 percent to 10 percent, a lower rate than in previous years.

“We have been working to keep our costs down,” he added.

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daphne3520 08/28/13 - 09:34 am
Oh, yeah? North Augusta's WalMart FIRED all it's

part timers and hired 25 TEMPS!!!!! Where's the beef?

OJP 08/28/13 - 01:33 pm
Wal-Mart recognizes that you don't want to risk losing good

talent due to discriminatory behavior.

Good on them.

Dixieman 08/28/13 - 02:28 pm

...I consider Rusty, my Irish setter, to be a domestic partner of mine ("pet" is such an antiquated and oppressive notion of capitalist style "ownership," don't you think?). Better yet, he's a male like me! So can I now get Blue Paw health insurance for him if I work at Wal-Mart?

Bad politically correct decision from Wal-Mart, just trying to avoid controversy IMHO. Still, these are their stores so they can do what they like.

soldout 08/28/13 - 10:33 pm
agreeing with sin

I think I would be better off in the long run agreeing with God's view of sin rather than man's view. After all, He decided what was sin and what wasn't. Yep; I think I will side with Him and see how that works out. To this point going against God's view hasn't worked out but of course all we can base that on is the entire history of mankind. Surely the creation is smarter than the Creator!

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