The world’s biggest retailer is joining the likes of 62% of the other Fortune 500 companies by offering benefits to same sex couples. In light of the recent changes in the Treasury and IRS departments, Walmart has decided to offer the benefits in every state, regardless of whether or not that state acknowledges same sex marriages as legal.
Open enrollment for the company begins in the middle of October and lasts until the first of November. During that time any couple (regardless of sexual orientation) that has lived together for the past 12 months in an exclusive relationship (and they plan to live together indefinitely) is eligible to enroll in the benefit program. The benefits are offered to all partners, and the company will go on the honor system regarding the couple’s status, rather than asking them for verification of their commitment to one another.
With 1.3 Million employees, Walmart is nearly the largest employer in the United States (second only to the US Government). There are roughly 1.1 Million people covered under Walmart’s current insurance program, including employees and their families. There are no estimates as to how many more will be covered after the change goes into effect.
Walmart already offers a competitive benefit package. Part-time employees, who work at least 30 hours per week, are eligible to partake in the insurance plan as well as full-time employees. The benefits available include health insurance, dental, vision, accident, and life insurances (as well as other retirement plans available to the employee). The company’s cheapest policy starts at about $18.50 per bi-weekly pay period and adjusts based on the number of people covered, amount of coverage, size of the deductible, and other factors. When the Affordable Care Act went through in 2010, Walmart was ahead of the game and did not need to adjust their insurance options as they already met the new stricter standards.
Walmart has gotten a bad rap as a company that will move into an area and drive the mom and pop stores out of business. However, the company also employs far more people that the smaller stores, offers better benefits, and provides an essential shopping place for many people who cannot afford to shop elsewhere. The company’s latest announcement to offer these benefits to more people is another way of being one of the more generous companies around.
Walmare already offers great benefits. They are doing an even better job of offering those benefits to more people, especially now as insurance rates are increasing due to the Affordable Care Act (Walmart’s rates even increased 5.7% from 2012 to 2013. In order to remain neutral in political and religious views the memo said:
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.
Read the full memo on Joemygod.com
Do you agree with Walmart’s point of view?