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Walmart expands benefits to include employees’ same-sex partners

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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 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.

Wal-Mart defines domestic partners as same-sex or opposite sex spouses, 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.

The decision was announced Monday by Sally Welborn, Wal-mart’s Senior Vice President of Benefits, in a memo to employees:

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.

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.

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.

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

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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146 more reader comments:

  1. Doesn´t change a thing…. Walmart is still a grievously evil company

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:08pm
  2. Finally this shitty company does something right.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:08pm
  3. they are trying to keep up with PUBLIX and its not going to work

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:08pm
  4. Walmart offers benefits?!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:08pm
  5. Wow!!! Walmart did something right!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:09pm
  6. I´m a Walmart employee so glad to hear

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:10pm
  7. We´re a marketable population and have $ which they want.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:10pm
  8. They do not pay their employees enough and do not work them enough hours to get benefits- I think this is a “we want to look good on paper” scam.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:10pm
  9. wow…plesantly amazed

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:10pm
  10. That´s unexpected!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:11pm
  11. I do not shop walmart due to their terrible business practices and inequality when it comes to paying people of the female gender. Furthermore, for every job they create they destroy four so before you applaud them for this move, make sure they pay their employees and give them enough hours to actually qualify for healthcare.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:12pm
  12. I guess peeps gonna be like “where´m I gonna get my junk from now?” with the boycotting and all:p

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:12pm
  13. Walmart does give benefits, people. :P

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:12pm
  14. So this assists 5 people in the store while the other 100 get no benefits…? Huzzah and all, but this is window dressings on a latrine trench.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:13pm
  15. Well that´s one and only good thing i can say about walmart policies.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:14pm
  16. They probably only did it in hopes that people would forget they still pay shit wages and offer benefits to very few employees anyway

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:14pm
  17. Walmart destroys the local economy wherever they go. And they sell made in china crap. I support the local business and made in America products

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:15pm
  18. With regards to the constant “they don´t pay enough” stuff – for all those bringing that up how many of you do or have worked there? And how many people complaining about their salary and/or hours have an availabilty of something like 10am-2pm M-F? Kind of hard to get full-time when you are available 20 hours per week. That may be a bit of an extreme example, but it *does* occur and not just at Wal-Mart. I spent about three years there as a part time cashier/CSM and was making decent money for the job I was doing. My wife as a department manager last year made between 44-45k, and the year prior as a simple overnight stocker was at nearly 40k. Now she´s been there a long time – but I think even she would agree for what she´s doing it´s not a bad salary. Could they do more? Yeah, I believe they could, just as a large majority of other large companies could; they´re an easy target due to their size.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:17pm
  19. Now they just need to pay a living wage.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:18pm
  20. You mean the healthcare benefits their employees don´t qualify for because they don´t work enough hours…?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:18pm
  21. This would be great if they had lots of employees with health care. I think they are trying to clean up their image without involving too much of their profit.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:19pm
  22. still hate them

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:19pm
  23. We´ll see… they´ve flip flopped on this issue many times. Changed their minds many times.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:20pm
  24. only color of the rainbow they care about is green. don´t be gullible

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:21pm
  25. It´s easy to offer matching benefits when you already have a policy in place to keep employee hours too low to pay benefits in the first place. So … if Adam´s work schedule gives him zero benefits, his husband Steve get zero benefits, too? Wa-frickin´-hoo.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:22pm
  26. Exactly, employees work 34-36hrs so the Walmart chain does not have to provide benefits. However, some folks will believe anything because it is in print for all to see. Question everything the media prints.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:23pm
  27. It´s about time.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:23pm
  28. yeah right, just covering their ass for potential lawsuits. If they would raise every thing sold in their stores by a penny….every worker would have health insurance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:23pm
  29. If they got benefits in the first place it would help! 200% increase of 0 is still 0. Duh!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:24pm
  30. WOW!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:27pm
  31. wait and see ??????

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:28pm
  32. I find this hard to believe !

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:29pm
  33. Walmart has benefits?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:30pm
  34. LOL
    Walmart has agreed to extend all of the zero.no benefits it offers to include same-sex couples

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:30pm
  35. In the no benefits.
    Thanks walmart. I´ll make sure to donate to your company. In monopoly money.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:30pm
  36. Hmmm, glad they´re doing this, but I didn´t even know Walmart had benefits until now.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:32pm
  37. Well, at least enforced, grinding poverty is now equal opportunity?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:32pm
  38. That still does´t mean that I will shop there.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:34pm
  39. Good News. But you still need to pay a living wage to your employees to be fair. If we can establish both domestic same-sex partner benefits and living wages to all employees, then I will reconsider shopping there again. …. Benefits for same-sex partners, like same-sex spouses, would include “medical, dental, vision, life insurance, discount cards, family leave, 401K, and critical illness and accident insurance,” and be available in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:34pm
  40. Are you sure Walmart and employee benefits can be part of the same sentence?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:36pm
  41. This is a big step in my opinion! Do they have more to do? Yes…but great step.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:36pm
  42. What benefits? And for how many employees?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:37pm
  43. My wife who is a manger for wal-mart for the past 7 years received a personal call to let her know about the changes and that she now can ad me to her insurance policy ..For the past two years we have made many phone calls and we were very happy and pleased that they took the time to call her to tell her the news before it hit the news feed ! Thank you Walmart for listening and caring !

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:37pm
  44. Good start.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:39pm
  45. It really upsets me to see all this negative feed back from you all! Today all my friends and family are very happy for us ..if you don´t work for them why be so negative and as for money goes if you only knew what my wife makes it would shock the hell out of you! Ok I´m done wont let you make my day sour! Have a great day all!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:42pm
  46. and with Walmart being the largest employer in the country this is a huge achievement!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:43pm
  47. So how many Wal-Mart employees actually qualify for benefits, by measure of how many hours they work? And how many can afford benefits if they do qualify? I´m not saying this is not a positive step, I´m simply saying it is probably a relatively cheap way for Wal-Mart to counter some of the bad press they have been getting-deservedly,for the most part-the past few years.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:43pm
  48. Cool, but most straight couples are not there for very long anyway. Thus, they do not qualify for benefits anyway….gay, straight, etc…

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:44pm
  49. Easy to do when you onky offer benefits to so very few. Unimpressed.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:44pm
  50. Thank You Walmart for showing a sense of equality among people.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:45pm
  51. no you only get benefits if you are full time and you don´t get hired as a full time employee. takes time and patience. it´s a great step but who truly qualifies?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:46pm
  52. It´s a step in the right directon. Yet, they still wont be able to afford to live on the walmart wages.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:46pm
  53. Oh no!! Now where are all the Krazy Kristians gonna spend their SNAP money??

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:46pm
  54. awesome I love it :)

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:51pm
  55. way too little way too fucking late.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:52pm
  56. Great news.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:53pm
  57. Late, is better than never.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:53pm
  58. what are the ulterior motives behind this? I fail to believe that such a corrupt company could possibly be doing something this big out of kindness or beliefs…

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:55pm
  59. Living wage is crucial for those workers

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:55pm
  60. @ Katrina S. Axelrod .. Read my post regarding what benefits.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:55pm
  61. while this sounds lovely, still not shopping there. I am not a one issue person.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:56pm
  62. I work there and I´m thrilled to hear this!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:56pm
  63. Now, let´s get the pay up to a living wage – It´s not an unreasonable request with all the profit Walmart makes with the help of its employees.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:58pm
  64. It´s going to take both benefits and better pay to get me back in the store.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 9:58pm
  65. Walmart offers benefits ?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:00pm
  66. mmmm weird, wasn´t Walmart one of the big business who used to pay for anti-gay campaigns in USA?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:00pm
  67. Well…if they ever have benefits, then the few fulltime employees they have will get benefits.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:04pm
  68. you go walmart!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:06pm
  69. About time Walmart!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:06pm
  70. now on to fair wages…

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:07pm
  71. It´s a good start.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:07pm
  72. Totally empty gesture. They keep their employee hours low enough to not have to pay benefits.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:08pm
  73. Good luck getting the benefits to begin with LOL

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:08pm
  74. Now to get the rest of the countrys´ on board with benefits and fair wages.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:09pm
  75. Well now they better start treating employees better now

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:09pm
  76. Half of nothing is still nothing.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:11pm
  77. I love the people bitching about the living wage.. I´ve worked for Walmart in two different states, including NY and they pay better than most companies….

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:12pm
  78. Chris–Not in the Southern States—I know a number of people who are on food stamps thanks to Wallyworld

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:17pm
  79. I still don´t like them!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:21pm
  80. about time !

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:21pm
  81. Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:22pm
  82. Even a broken clock . . . Still won´t shop there until they allow unions to organize their workers.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:24pm
  83. yeah, but they still fire people who have medical cannabis, and not those who take perscroptions

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:26pm
  84. Now if they would do something about the GM´s that make your life a living hell if you´re gay…….

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:28pm
  85. Did most everyone forge/t that Wal-Mart is one of the most evil companies on the face of the earth and refuse to pay workers a fair wage? I won´t support them based on how they treat employees and their greed.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:30pm
  86. Some good pr for Walmart, it still doesn´t make up for their glass ceiling policies or not paying a living wage…..still not shopping there!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:30pm
  87. Hell has froze

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:30pm
  88. bif deal when they don´t pay a wage so you can live and buy health insurance the point is mute with this worthless company

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:33pm
  89. excellen

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:34pm
  90. Easy claim to make since they don´t supply many of their workers with health care benefits in the first place…

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:38pm
  91. I wont believe it until I see it. Besides, if you´re only pay minimum wage, & you keep most of your employees on part-time wages, just what will this accomplish?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:39pm
  92. John Spurgeon… get another job where you don´t bitch as much

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:41pm
  93. no way, WAL MART! SHoCKED!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:42pm
  94. Wow! Finally some good PR!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:43pm
  95. They´re still assholes.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:44pm
  96. Besides… giving .01% of your employees that perk is nothing. I mean they only give benefits to a
    very small percentage of their workforce…and what? like 1% of those people are married LGBT people? Not saying LGBT is rare, but when you consider the smallish number of states that allow same-sex marriage, then the percentage of their workforce that actually qualifies is ridiculously small.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:47pm
  97. To clear the air, Walmart offers insurance after 6 months of employment. It is good insurance, hence the cost. I don´t like the fact that the company only hires part time, but this is not the only company only hiring part time. Walmart just happens to be the largest retailer. The rest if the retailers only hire part time as well.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:49pm
  98. Wow! Interesting to hear this since in one month Walmart and Sams Club will begin outsourcing the employees schedules and if a full time employee requests a certain day off, or requests certain hours, they will be bumped down to part time, making them ineligible for insurance. And any one hired from here on out must sign an agreement saying that they understand they are “temporary help” and can be let go at any time, also majing them ineligible for insurance. This is strictly for show! I predict in 2 years this company will be gone. Sam Walton wrote in his book that his children would be the downfall of the company. Let the downfall begin!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:50pm
  99. Btw, they are extending it to domestic partners as well. Read the article.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:50pm
  100. Wait….Walmart is doing something GOOD for their employees??

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:54pm
  101. you mean the benefits most of them cant afford? HOW PROGRESSIVE.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:56pm
  102. ok!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 10:57pm
  103. and mexico

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:00pm
  104. wow, that is news

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:05pm
  105. my aunt worked for walmart, when she lived in michigan….and she had health insurence and such…..and as we know, the south is ANTI-UNION….which would help in getting FAIR WAGES and such.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:05pm
  106. like my page pleaseee?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:09pm
  107. They are doing this because they are shamed into it

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:12pm
  108. What benefits…Fair wages?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:17pm
  109. Ok, but do they give anyone benefits, enough hours to get these alleged benefits?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:22pm
  110. Probably don´t pay enough for their employees to afford a copay.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:23pm
  111. It actually would be a better benefit to everyone if they made all employees full-time. This affects very few people, since the majority of their employees are part time.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:25pm
  112. That is all well and good, but how can they pay for it when all they get is minimum wages?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:32pm
  113. Is this supposed to make up for the fact that they donate to anti gay hate groups .

    Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 11:46pm
  114. 50% of Walmart employees have some benefits, along with about an equal number of family members. The other 50% of Walmart employees either are not eligible for or cannot afford any healthcare, offered or not.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:01am
  115. I find that VERY hard to believe. knowing Walmart….

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:04am
  116. That´s nice. Still won´t shop there.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:05am
  117. They have benefits?

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:07am
  118. cool thanks wallmart

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:13am
  119. I had to read the title twice

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:18am
  120. so my partner will get to share in my foodstamps if i work for Walmart? what a Deal!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:20am
  121. I really don´t like Walmart as a corporation for I think they treat their employees horribly but I am impressed that they would take the stance to include the LGBT community in extending benefits.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:22am
  122. PART TIME workers don´t get benefits, gay or str8…duh

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:37am
  123. I´m going to Walmart tonight!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:37am
  124. Now if they´d just pay a living wage and treat their workers the same despite their gender…..

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:50am
  125. If employee benefits are minimal (no health ins. etc.) how is this positive? Let us not forget all.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:28am
  126. hmmmm Walmart… Really? I am just guessing here, but since Wally World makes over 22 million USD about every 11 minutes — this is not because they have the more ethical motivation in mind. I am guessing it will somehow make them a lot of money. In the past Walmart has been known to be a Christian based organization who has terminated employees for being gay. If this happens… IF Walmart has turned a new leaf — let us wait and watch and see just how sincere they are and how often they do support us all. Gay rights for example… hmmmmm…. just hmmmm….

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:32am
  127. Well, it´s a start…

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:33am
  128. I still will never shop there.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:39am
  129. They still treat employees like crap, always out of product, and the merchandise is poor quality! I boycott!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:47am
  130. It´s about freaking time wal-mart!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:11am
  131. Wal-Mart has very few full time employees who can get those benefits to share. When they allow unions or at least pay their employees a living wage and treat them to right so Unions are a pointless arguement I fail to see Wal-Mart as a LGBT friendly company.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:24am
  132. All they need to do now is to provide a living wage . ..

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:38am
  133. It won´t make any difference to the company since most of their employees can´t afford the health insurance anyway. Empty words.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 3:13am
  134. As a gay person I will still have nothing to do with them. They still treat women unfairly and have low wages. This is all a PR ploy. Nothing more nothing less.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 4:06am
  135. who cares, Walmart is still one of the worst companies to work for still today…white trash flea market…

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 4:32am
  136. This does NOT change the fact that most of Walmart employees do not get enough hours to qualify for any kind of benefits . Weather it be insurance they have to pay for/Vacation time /sick pay /Holiday pay. Many of them are expected to come to work & only work 2 hours then off 2 hours & work 2 more hours a day !!! And if they go try to get a better job they will be fired by Walmart !!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 4:38am
  137. Walmart is no worse than most low wage jobs, and better than some. It is standard practice not to give enough hours, or pay more than minimum.. Sucks, but to blame Walmart more than the other places is silly.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 5:32am
  138. What benefits? They keep their employees “under-employed” to AVOID paying benefits. EMPTY WORDS, WALMART.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 6:15am
  139. sorry, mal-wart, i still won´t shop there. most ermployees are not full time, and you make it that way, but still refuse to pay ppl a living wage. you kill mom & pops who do the right thing to start with, and you treat your employees like scum. too little, too late.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 6:34am
  140. i´m still not shopping at walmart.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 9:33am
  141. Nice idea but they should pay their workers! I don´t shop there because of the way they treat their employees.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10:40am
  142. It´s time the whole country does that!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10:40am
  143. That is great, but lets make sure they can afford it with the wages you pay them.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 11:33am
  144. at least they have done something…

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 11:41am
  145. Like Archie Bunker said: Pinko, Commie. #$%@!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:17pm
  146. Am I seeing things? WalMart? This has to be a joke…

    Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:24pm