Wal-Mart will offer benefits to the same-sex spouses of its employees. In its announcement, Wal-Mart described it as a necessary policy change to keep the company consistent across the country as some states have altered the definition of marriage.
The policy will provide the spouses and domestic partners of full-time workers coverage in medical, dental, vision, life, critical illness and accident plans. This announcement comes when other employers (like UPS) are announcing that they are cutting back on spousal coverage to curtail rising costs. The question is whether this decision from the nation’s largest employer may put some pressure on other employers to follow suit.
Certain Wal-Mart constituents are not pleased by the change. Conservative groups have expressed disappointment in the decision as they do not support same sex marriage. It has been speculated in the media that Wal-Mart is trying to improve its negative public image when it comes to the pay and working conditions of its employees. Wal-Mart has asserted this decision was solely a business one.