Wal-Mart Stores, the biggest private employer in the U.S., is cutting health benefits for part-time workers.

Target, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s, and others have already done the same. But Wal-Mart is the retailer most often criticized for paying wages too low to live on. Among the complaints of union-backed protesters is that employees who want to work full-time can’t always get the hours. So the company’s decision to cut benefits for those most financially vulnerable is likely to get extra scrutiny.

By January, Wal-Mart said, it will no longer offer health insurance to employees who work less than an average of 30 hours a week. Some 30,000 people, or about 2 percent its total 1.4 million U.S. workforce, will be affected. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s because three years ago the retailer cut health benefits for part-timers who work less than 24 hours a week.

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