Costco Employee Perks That Have Us Feeling A Little Jealous

Whenever one debates whether to take a new job, there seems to be a whole slew of questions to consider. Is the compensation fair? Is this a professional environment in which I can fit and thrive? Will this job affect my quality of life in a negative or positive manner?

The answers to these questions, of course, will vary among companies, positions, and individuals. But one corporation in particular that seems to produce consistently positive responses as to the question of whether or not it is an objectively good place to work is Costco. A survey conducted in 2018 by online job site Indeed to identify the best companies to work for put Costco Wholesale at the No. 1 spot, and not much has changed since. The company maintains its high standing in workforce ratings, but what makes this the case? Sure, the rounded benefits and higher-than-average pay are well-known, but as it turns out, there are a plethora of other beneficial, interesting, and downright cool perks that come with being an employee of one of the world's largest retailers. Let's unpack some of the best Costco employee perks that have us feeling a little jealous.

They and their family members get a free membership

Yes, you read that right. Employment at Costco comes with its own, fee-waived membership. And if that alone isn't enough to convince you to run to the nearest warehouse and pick up an application, there is yet another layer to this benefit that further sweetens the deal. It's not just the employees themselves that get an annual membership card free of charge — the gratuity also extends to their three closest friends or family members.

Upon becoming hired, four executive membership cards are automatically given to the new team member. One becomes theirs, while the rest are free to be distributed to any relative or friend of their choice. Executive memberships at Costco are the most expensive tier, giving users a 2% reward on certain purchases annually as well as providing extra savings on products such as travel packages or other services. Costco bestows its best upon its crew. We can't imagine there is another place to be employed in which bring-your-family-to-work-day results in grandma leaving with a well-deserved cart full of bakery muffins, a few rotisserie chickens, a new TV, and plans for a cruise. Delivering family joy is a definite perk in our book.

Both full- and part-time workers get great benefits

The benefits at Costco are pretty widely celebrated. With offerings like health care, vision, and dental coverage, access to a 401(k) plan, sick days, paid time off, and stock options, the company makes sure it is taking care of its workers through its policies. This provides an advantage for the corporation as well — namely, an incredibly low employee turnover rate. Payment Depot reports that Costco has a 94% rate of retention — meaning people don't often leave their job at the warehouse once they've snagged one. This suggests a consistent, happy, reliable workforce. It's a win-win for all involved.

What makes Costco's benefits package even more incredible is that it's not just the full-timers who get access to it. Part-time workers typically don't qualify for benefits at many companies, but that is not the case at Costco. As long as an employee works 24 hours a week, they are eligible for all the same benefits as the full-time workers. Certain aspects — such as the amount of vacation time each individual is allotted, for example — are varied and determined by hours worked or years at the company, of course. But all in all, we'd say an inclusive benefits package for each and every employee devoting their time, energy, and heart to keep things running smoothly at the warehouse is a pretty wonderful perk, indeed.

They can shop after hours

One of the more unofficial but undeniably stupendous benefits to being a Costco employee is that many of them have the ability to shop for needed goods outside of the standard posted store hours. According to some users on Reddit, many warehouses offer employee shopping hours for their clocked-out workers, though this perk is ultimately determined at the discretion of the general manager of each individual location.

Customer-free shopping opportunities for employees vary. Some locations will maintain regularly determined times slots, such as Sunday evenings after closing to the public, while others will establish them only as a fun, occasional, or seasonal gratuity around the holidays. One user on Costco's subreddit under a thread titled, "Employees of Costco, what is the one best benefit of the job?" referred to the ability to shop after-hours as being their absolute favorite thing about working for the company. And when we think about the possibility of avoiding crazy Christmas crowds and how great it would be to shop in an empty warehouse during the holiday season, we think we can understand why. 

They find out first about new items and sales

Who do you think gets those first, magical glimpses of all the hot new products being brought off the delivery truck and into the warehouse? The employees who will be arranging, stocking, and selling them, that's who. Being behind the scenes at Costco has its advantages when it comes to getting insider information on new deals and merchandise before the rest of the consumer base. And because some locations allow employees to shop after the store has closed to the general public, they may have the opportunity to be some of the very first purchasers of the new goods as well.

Employees are also privy to exactly when certain items will go on sale before the average shopper. They learn the pattern that deducted items follow and all other money-saving tricks of the trade, such as the fact that Costco rotates which products will be discounted every month, or that shopping a few weeks after Christmas will bring huge savings as the warehouse tries to shed some of the extra holiday product bulk. Therefore, employees have the ability to plan accordingly when they want to snatch something up for less — and you can't deny that saving money is always an envy-producing perk. 

They get bonuses

While some businesses aren't generally known for giving bonuses to their employees, Costco is one of those big-time retailers that makes it happen. After an employee has put in a certain amount of hours — usually around the five-year mark for full-time workers — they become eligible to receive twice yearly bonus checks. Starting at $2,500 every six months, they can increase up to an amount of $3,500 for continued years and hours put in, according to employees in one online forum. That's the potential for quite a bit of extra cash tacked onto one's yearly earnings.

And there's good news for the part-time employees as well. Although the bonus policy mainly benefits full-timers just because of the sheer amount of hours they work, there is nothing to stop a part-time worker from receiving bonuses if they have put in the hours required for eligibility. According to Costco employees under the company's subreddit, part-timers may take a few more years to qualify, but once they reach the overall hourly milestone, they will receive their first bonus. After that, if they continue to work part time and don't get the 1,000 subsequent hours required to make the next full bonus, they will receive a prorated bonus instead. Either way, as a long-term Costco employee, you're getting something extra on your pay stub. Not too shabby, we have to admit.  

They get a free turkey for the holidays

What's a great way to say "thank you" to the employees making your organization go round? How about a free turkey for the dinner table? This delightfully bizarre and slightly genius perk for Costco employees runs from November through the end of December, when employees get to take home a big bird for a holiday dinner of their choice. If the worker is not having a grand get-together — or if they are simply not meat eaters — they have the option to donate their bird to a charity organization instead.

According to users on Reddit under r/Costco, the tradition goes that each and every employee receives a turkey coupon. They can enter the walk-in freezer whenever they are ready, grab their turkey, and simply show their ticket at the door upon exiting. This benefit apparently extends to seasonal employees as well. In the past it used to include only permanently established workers. Overall, it's a pretty nice pick-me-up during the holiday season — which, we imagine, is especially hectic for those working among the crowd-heavy craziness that is Costco Wholesale between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

They earn time-and-a-half on Sundays

Sunday — that final day before the work week gets going in full swing — is often reserved for rest, family time, barbecuing, watching the big game ... or, getting shopping accomplished. And while most stores in today's day and age are open on Sundays, it didn't used to be that way. Until the 1970s, when stores began to open regularly, the majority of businesses were closed on Sundays, recognizing the societal distinctiveness of this day as well as giving employees their rest along with the masses.

Nowadays this antiquated practice has mostly been phased out, but there are a few places that still recognize Sunday as being special for its workers. Chick-fil-A, for example, is always closed on Sundays — which is, we all know, coincidentally the day that its fast food chicken always sounds the best. But Costco does something significant to recognize its employees on this day as well; those working on Sundays receive time-and-a-half pay during their shift. 

Time-and-a-half pay is the same amplified hourly rate employees make when they work a holiday — except, at Costco, they'll rate it every week. Multiple users under the corporation's subreddit named this benefit alone the No. 1 reason they love working for the company, and who can blame them? Not only is weekly magnified pay an amazing perk, but sometimes, it is just nice to be recognized for one's hard work on one of the busiest days in retail.

They get more vacation time than the average worker

Sliding in as another epic bonus accompanying employment at Costco Wholesale is its vacation policy. As is the case with any other company, the number of vacation days for each employee, as well as how much paid time off they are allotted, is determined by how many years and hours they have put in. But according to Zippia, the standard worker at Costco receives an average of 20-30 vacation days annually.

This is pretty striking when, based on another report by Forbes Advisor, the average worker in the United States receives only 11 vacation days per year. After five years of employment within their same company, Forbes projects, this number extends to 15 days, and then to 17 after 10 years of service. So — even taken at its lowest point of 20 days — Costco employees receive nine days more than the average employee in a different organization might get after working for a decade! Obviously these numbers can vary from place to place and situation to situation, but one can't deny that at its base, Costco's vacation policy is nothing to scoff at ... and a pretty colossal perk of employment. 

They get winter leave

The winter season can be a challenging time for many people. With the cold, dreary weather and constant holiday bustle, it's no wonder people often find themselves needing a mental, physical, or emotional recharge. Costco apparently gets that and extends a very warm-hearted perk to help during that time. After an employee has worked with the company for one year, they become eligible for something called winter leave.

Winter leave is a period of up to four weeks in which the employee can take off during the months of January, February, or March. It can be a completely unpaid step-away from work, or the employee can use some of the paid time off hours they have built up in the system so they can continue receiving pay for all — or at least a portion — of their absence. According to employees on Reddit, requests for winter leave must go through an approval process by management — but assuming there is plenty of coverage, the request will be honored. One Reddit user under an online thread titled, "Winter Leave Dates?" explained that you can put in for as long or as short of a break as you desire. A coworker at their location, they said, would take the whole month of February off every year, while another would take a free Thursday every week during those three months. Whatever the situation, we're sure these workers all come back to their jobs post-winter break feeling refreshed. 

The job comes with a great team of coworkers

Anyone who has ever worked anywhere knows that the team of people you are surrounded by day in and day out can make or break your entire professional experience ... so this perk speaks for itself. "I have amazing coworkers," one Reddit user said in a thread discussing the very best things about working for the wholesaler. "I love 99.9% of the people I work with ... I'm a merch manager and it's the only thing that makes coming into work at 2am bearable."

And this single employee isn't alone in their feelings. According to Business Insider, Costco employees as a whole seem to think their work companions are supportive, kind, and fun to be around — comparable even to a second family, in some cases. One Costco worker told Business Insider that even the management team is protective of the employees in their warehouse, stepping in surely and quickly to take the heat when a customer becomes irate or disrespectful. Team members who make you laugh, help you out, and have your back is — in our book — perhaps the most wonderful perk of them all.