Wal-Mart: same-sex partners to get health benefits

Walmart Wal-Mart said the change was a "business decision"

Related Stories

Wal-Mart, the largest private sector US employer, is to offer health insurance to the same-sex partners of its staff.

The world's largest retailer has about 1.3 million staff in the US, although the company said it did not know how many would use the benefits.

Wal-Mart's move brings it into line with many other big US firms that have already begun extending such benefits.

In June, the Supreme Court ordered the US government to recognise same-sex marriages in states where it is legal.

"We have chosen to offer benefits to an associate's same- or opposite sex spouse, or to an unmarried partner, whether of the same or opposite gender," said Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove.

"Unmarried partners, whether same sex or opposite, are covered if they live together in an ongoing exclusive committed relationship similar to marriage and have been together for at least 12 months, and they intend to continue sharing a household indefinitely."

Despite the Supreme Court's ruling, Mr Hargrove said the change was a business decision.

"Since we operate in all 50 states we thought it was important to develop a single definition for Wal-Mart associates in the US so that we could ensure consistency in our markets across the country."

More than half of the retailer's staff are on its healthcare plans, and membership is dependent on how many hours staff work and how long they have been at the company.

Wal-Mart's US employees will pay 3% to 10% more for their medical coverage next year, depending on the plan, Reuters news agency reports.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • The smartphone that answers backClick Watch

    Smartphones get smarter – the prototypes that talk and say ouch when you drop them

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.