Bill Marriott Walks the Walk

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According to company lore, Marriott International was built on a simple philosophy from founder J. Willard Marriott: Take care of the associates and they'll take care of the guests. That easy-to-say, hard-to-do sentiment is still the foundation for the firm more than 80 years after its launch. Bill Marriott, son of the founder and living hotel legend, last week showed he can walk the walk, too.

In his entertaining and insightful blog, Marriott announced that all of the company's full-time employees will still receive their health care benefits, even if they're working reduced hours due to the slowdown in the hotel business. (Oddly, the offer won't apply in Massachusetts, where state law mandates that employees pass a threshold of weekly hours worked in order to receive health benefits. Stupid, but true.)

Of course, one caveat to Marriott's announcement is that it only applies to direct employees of Marriott International. Thus, employees at franchised properties aren't necessarily covered by the policy, unless their owners decide to do so.

Therein lies a challenge: Any owner of a Marriott property should, in the spirit of the founder and the current corporate leadership, should do likewise and make sure their employees aren't subjected to the angst of no health care coverage. Lord knows that while times may be difficult now, you all made tons of money by virtue of your connection to the Marriott system. Now is the time to give back.

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