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Thursday October 1, 2020

updated - October 1, 2020 Thursday EDT

Wal-Mart Extends Health Benefits to Full-Time Employees' of Same-Sex Partners No Matter How State Laws Define Marriage

Aug 28, 2013 12:04 PM EDT | By Justin Stock
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Wal-mart, Health Benefits, Domestic Partners
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Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is set to offer health benefits for full time employees with domestic partners.(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Wal-Mart is extending health benefits to domestic partners of full-time employees according to Forbes.

"It's a business decision, not a moral or political decision. We operate in 50 states, hundreds of municipalities and Puerto Rico, and as clarified under the Supreme Court's decision to strike down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), each of these states are developing different definitions of marriage, domestic partner, civil union, etc," a memo from Wal-Mart senior vice president of benefits Sally Welborn to the company's management and obtained by blog Towleroad.com said. "By developing a single definition for all Walmart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we are able to ensure consistency for associates across our markets."

According to Forbes, any full-time Wal-Mart associate can cover any spouse or domestic partner regardless of their gender.

Hargrove emphasized the healthcare option is just a part of the retailer's updated benefits package. This includes a vision plan, 100 percent coverage for some surgeries including hip replacements, and incentives for smokers to quit the habit Forbes reported. 

The new offering will be available in all 50 states, and will be independent of how each state defines what a marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union involves Forbes reported.

The chain's announcement came at the same time the retailer delivered postcards to employees explaining what the changes to their health insurance policies for next year would include Forbes reported. Hargrove reportedly gave out the information at the same time to help senior executives explain any changes to workers.

"Your behavior matters. The words you use also matter," Wal-Mart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said in the memo. "We are counting on you to be thoughtful, supportive and understanding of multiple viewpoints. Your visibility can make a big difference to how associates feel." 

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