11 Costco Employee Benefits That Will Make You Want to Work There

For shoppers, Costco gets a lot of things right, including how they treat their employees.

Costco Wholesale store at sunset
Updated May 28, 2024
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Costco Wholesale is synonymous with buying in bulk. The store's low prices for bundled items make it an attractive place to shop for household goods such as toilet paper or cleaning supplies, as well as electronics. With its own gas stations, in-store pharmacies, and famously cheap hot dogs and pizza slices, there are plenty of ways to get further savings at the store.

It's also a company that attracts plenty of new workers each year. The stores are big and need a lot of annual and seasonal employees. For anyone considering working at Costco, you should know what it offers beyond the salary. Here are 11 of the best benefits that the company offers its employees.

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Above minimum wage salary

Andrey Popov/Adobe hands checking a paycheck

It pays to work at Costco. As of October 2021, the starting salary for service assistants is $17 per hour and service clerks make $18 per hour. More specialized roles at the optical center and pharmacy earn more than $25 per hour on average. That's above a $15 minimum wage, which is becoming the new national baseline.

Related: 7 Savvy Moves When You Have $1,000 In The Bank

Free memberships to the store

andy/Adobe Costco wholesale warehouse shopping membership club

Yes, that is plural. Costco has plenty of savings, but first customers must pay to become a member. Membership itself starts at $60 per year. While that's not extravagant when stretched out over 365 days, it's still an upfront cost before a single item is purchased.

Although Costco employees don't get discounts on items in each store, all employees do get four free memberships, one for themselves and three for people of their choosing. Each membership is good for a year.

Variety of health benefits

herraez/Adobe optometrist doing sight testing for male patient in clinic

Employees who have worked for 180 consecutive days at the company for more than 23 hours a week, according to Glassdoor, qualify for Costco's health benefits plan. And it's a solid one.

Health insurance is affordable and includes dental and vision (and remember, there are optometrists in Costco stores) and co-pays are low. Employees may also use the company's pharmacies for any prescriptions that need to be filled.

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Seasonal work options

Paul Bradbury/KOTO/Adobe workers carting boxes in warehouse

Although many of the perks go to full-time employees, Costco also needs seasonal employees each year. The holidays demand more people on the floor and in the warehouse as demand picks up. That's good news for anyone trying to find short-term work. The seasonal hiring period generally starts in October and ends in January, with new employees on a 90-day probationary period.

Extra pay on Sundays

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe punctuality at work swipe-card system

Base pay at Costco is good, but there are weekly chances for employees to make more. Costco operates on a time-and-a-half pay structure on Sundays. That means each hour an employee works they earn 50% more. No matter how many hours an employee works during the week, they earn more per hour when working on a Sunday. So any employees you see there on one of the busiest days of the week are earning extra.

Turkey time

Joshua Resnick/Adobe thanksgiving dinner turkey

Beyond year-round benefits like health insurance, Costco also offers employees part of a holiday meal. Business Insider reported in 2019 that all employees get a free turkey in the holiday season, available from “mid-November through Christmas,” according to an employee. That starts the holiday shopping season off right. Employees not in need of a turkey can also donate theirs to charities.

Bonuses, bonuses

nitikornfotolia/Adobe Person holding large amount of cash

Speaking of additional benefits, there are bonuses available for employees paid both annually and every six months. Reports on Indeed.com mention bonuses of $2,000 or more semi-annually, depending on how long an employee has been with the company. The annual bonuses may be even higher, again depending on experience and department.

Related: 6 Dead Simple Things Millionaires Do That You Can Too

Retirement options

emiliezhang/Adobe retirement plan

Costco matches 50% of an employee's annual 401(k) contributions up to $500 per year. If you're working there, that could be as much as $1,500 added to your 401(k) plan each year. And for employees with 10 or more years of service, health insurance is included in retirement benefits, according to Glassdoor.

Promotion chances

Syda Productions/Adobe happy man with cardboard parcel box at warehouse

While many positions at Costco are entry level, employees aren't limited to that role. Staff have several options to advance in their various departments. Reports on Indeed and Glassdoor mention an employee mentorship program and opportunities to train and learn new roles higher up in the company.

While some departments require specialized education or certification for certain roles, such as the optical and pharmacy sections, not every department does. How long it takes to advance varies by position and other factors, but employees can move up the ranks. The company itself notes that 70% of its warehouse managers started out as hourly employees.

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Time off

Peera/Adobe woman on beach in summer

The company offers several time-off policies for staff. Staff at Costco are eligible for paid time off, paid sick leave, and vacation hours as well. It requires working 90 days before you can start accruing paid time off. Vacation hours, to a certain extent, can roll over to the next calendar year.

For new mothers, there are six weeks of paid maternity leave as well. The company also pays employees for the time they serve on a jury.

Holidays

luckybusiness/Adobe happy family in Christmas morning opening present

Beyond the company's paid time off and vacation policies for employees, Costco guarantees its staff seven paid holidays off, including the big ones of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. There's also a floating paid holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day that can be taken before or after the day itself.

Bottom line

Sundry Photography/Adobe Costco Wholesale store

Costco offers plenty of immediate and long-term benefits to its employees. Anyone considering applying for a job at Costco should take into consideration all that the store offers, even if it's just for a seasonal job around the holidays. Looking to see what positions are hiring? The company's careers page is regularly updated with new roles.

Regardless of where you look for work, job hunters should keep some common red flags about new jobs in mind as they talk to a potential employer. But taking into consideration salary, benefits, and company culture can help you find the best jobs for your situation.

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Author Details

Nicholas Slayton

Nicholas Slayton is a journalist and editor based in Los Angeles. His writing can be found at The Daily Beast, Paste Magazine, Architectural Digest, Shelterforce, and other outlets.