9 Must-Know Costco Employee Benefits, Perks, and Discounts

Updated September 17, 2021 by Kyle
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Costco has always been known as a great place to work, especially for part-time employees. But I thought it was time to take a deep dive into exactly what employee benefits and discounts Costco offers their workers. Perks that just might sway your decision one way or another when deciding to interview or accept a job offer.

9 Costco Employee Benefits, Perks, and Discounts You Gotta Know

 

Before we break it all down, let’s get some basic questions out-of-the-way that several commenters were curious about.

How old do you have to be to work at Costco? – Their minimum age for employment is 18 years old.

Does Costco hire seniors?Yes. Departments where Costco hires senior citizens often include the pharmacy, optical, and member services.

Is there a required retirement age? – There is NO required retirement age at Costco.

1. Solid Health & Dental Insurance

If you’ve worked for Costco for at least 180 consecutive days, and work more than 24 hours per week, you’re eligible for health benefits.

You actually get to choose your own provider and out-of-pocket costs are low compared to the competition.

Also, since there is a pharmacy inside the warehouse, you get access to a solid in-house prescription drug plan.

Co-pays are $5 for generic drugs and 5-15% for for brand name medications.

Plus, all employees get access to a low cost dental plan which covers teeth cleaning and some basic procedures like cavity fillings.

2. Generous 401(k) Match

Costco offers a 50% match on your 401(k) contributions up to a maximum of $500 per year.

So you’d be smart to add $1,000 a year (if you can) as you’ll maximize this benefit.

In this scenario, Costco will add $500 to your 401(k) if you’re able to add $1,000 per year. Not too shabby.

Costco will also contribute a percentage of your pay regardless of what you add to your 401(k). This kicks in after you’ve been employed for a year and starts at 3% and increases periodically.

Caution: If you quit working at Costco before year 5 you’ll lose a portion of what they contributed but you keep ALL of your contributions.

See Also: The 15 Best Employee Discounts at Fast Food Restaurants

3. Does Costco Offer an Employee Discount?

No, employees pay the same price as everyone else.

But…when I asked a Costco employee about this, she told me that one nice perk they do get is the ability to shop after hours when the store is empty saving a bunch of time.

After all, time is money, right?

4. Salary Starting at $15/Hour

According to this Wall Street Journal article the starting hourly wage at Costco is $15 an hour.

For reference this is a higher wage compared to other “big box” employers.

Factor in Sunday shifts and this wage rises significantly. More on that later.

Also, in case you were wondering, hourly Costco employees “top out” at about $26 – $28/hour and it takes 6-8 years to get there.

5. Their Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy Doesn’t Suck

Paid Time Off is a big deal and this Costco benefits is nothing to scoff at.

After you’ve been employed for 1 year and have accrued at least 2,000 paid hours, you’ll start to accumulate paid time off.

Specifically, PTO is earned based on years of employment and breaks down like this:

– 1 year of employment: 1 week PTO

– 2-4 years: 2 weeks PTO

– 5-9 years: 3 weeks PTO

– 10-14 years: 4 weeks PTO

– 15+ years: 5 weeks PTO

If you work less than 2,000 hours your PTO is pro-rated accordingly.

Also, it’s important to note that you can ONLY roll-over your PTO to the following year and it can’t be carried over from year to year.

Costco WANTS you to use your vacation hours…so use it before you lose it.

6. A Free Turkey? Um, OK.

According to this Business Insider article, employees at Costco get a free turkey at Thanksgiving.

Cool gesture but not exactly the same as a real Christmas bonus, more like a “Jelly of the Month Club” type bonus.

Apparently employees can donate the turkey to a charity if they don’t want to take it home.

7. Earn “Time and a Half” on Sunday

You can really rack up a fat paycheck if you regularly work on Sunday as you’ll earn time and a half.

So if you normally earn $15/hour that’ll get bumped to $22.50 which is a nice pay increase.

Doing some quick math, your weekly hourly rate jumps up to $16.50 per hour by working on Sunday.

See Also: Amazon Employee Discount: The Nuts & Bolts So You Can Take Advantage

8. You’ll Get 4 Free Memberships

Also, as a Costco employee you’ll get 4 free annual memberships.

One membership for you and 3 for anyone of your choosing.

Choose wisely young padawan.

9. Opportunities to Move Up

From talking to multiple Costco employees it seems unanimous that your success depends largely on your work ethic and how badly you want to move up with the company.

Work hard and you’ll move up. Heck, shoot for a supervisor position, then a store manager.

Your success with Costco is limited only by YOU and your attitude.

“Bonus Time” at Costco

I also got the skinny (kinda) on how bonuses for Costco employees work.

Here’s what I know so far…

– Bonus Every 6 Months: According to this thread on Indeed.com, an employee talked about getting a $2,500 to $3,500 bonus every 6 months depending on years with Costco.

– Annual Bonus up to $5,500: According to PayScale.com some employees get an annual bonus up to $5,500. Particularly the in-house optician (eye doctor).

Help me out in the comments if you have first hand knowledge of how Costco bonuses work.

Ask the Reader: Do you work for Costco Wholesale? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments, thanks.


By Kyle James

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Kendra

I work at the Costco off of Morena Blvd. in San Diego. It is true that we do not get an employee discount, that’s because we only mark up our products 14-16%. Instead they give each employee an Executive Membership card, so that’s like giving us $120 a year. Plus we earn 2% back on our purchases.
My Costco is the original, it was the first Price Club that Sol Price opened. You can read about our history on Wikipedia or the Costco website, but basically, all Costco’s that were originally Price Clubs are in a Union. I paid $300 in initiation fees and then they take the equivalent of one day’s pay a month out of my paycheck. Many of us debate whether or not it’s worth it, since the non-union buildings start at $17 per hour for new employees and they get the same perks that we do. The upside of the Teamsters Union is that if I got hurt or sexually harassed or anything, I would have an entire union to back me up.

Let me know if you have any questions about Costco.

Rick

What investment choices do you have for the 401k? Can you designate part or all of the 401k as a Roth plan (paid with taxable income but tax free withdrawals)?

Kendra

We use T. Rowe Price for our 401k plan and yes we can designate it as a Roth Plan. We choose what level of risk that we want for our investments, but most of us go along with what T. Rowe Price suggests for us based upon our age and the number of years left that we plan on working. Personally, I choose to have 15% of my paycheck go into the 401k and I have have 50% of that designated for purchasing Costco stocks and the other half goes towards the mix of stocks, bonds, etc. that T. Rowe Price suggests for me.

Kendra

Update:
– As of March 1, 2021 our starting wage has gone up to $16 an hour.
– The Teamsters Union initiation fees have increased to $390 for new employees.

Last edited 6 months ago by Kendra
Tabatha

Hey Kendra! Does it really take 6 months for health insurance to kick in? I’m hoping to apply in the next couple of months when I move and I was hoping for health insurance sooner.

Erika

Benefits start after your probationary period, 90 days.

Sheri Hathaway

Costco benefits start after 450 hrs then 2 month after your hrs . A total of 5 monthes maybe 6 monthes.

Kendra

No, you have to make it past the 90 day probationary period. Then you can enroll in their Aetna insurance plan during Open Enrollment.

Irene

Hi, how much do you have to pay for medical insurance monthly with kids in your plan? Parent and kids?

Thank you in advance!

Kendra

I pay approximately $45 per person per month.

Pat

Wondering how much the family health insurance plan would cost if it’s just my spouse and myself? Would this vary depending on state?

Kendra

I don’t know if it varies by state, but here in California, part-time employees pay approximately $45 per person per month for our Aetna health insurance. Apparently it’s even less expensive for full-time employees.

Angela Rozell

Does Costco offer a Pension Plan?

Kendra

Yes

C-Rod

I’ll be looking for my next job in about 2 months so I’m starting to look around now. Always loved retail but it didn’t pay well but Costco seems to pay decent so I’m thinking it might be a good option. Have a few questions maybe an employee could answer

1) I have heard they hire very few full time employees, is that true?

2) can you request to work Sundays for that extra pay? Do they try and accommodate the request

3) Can you be always day or always night? I can work either but have a hard time switching around

4) Is covid vaccine required? If so will they work your schedule so you have a day afterwards to deal with any side effects?

Thanks to anyone who can give me answers!

Costco employee

Hey C-rod,
To answer your questions 🙂

1. Costco is very selective when it comes to hiring full time employees because once you are in it, even if you’re not in the union buildings, (considering you hit the 6 month mark) it’s almost impossible to get fired. They simply move you. There have been instances where people take personal leave, and Costco even goes as far as paying for rehab if you have been with them for a certain amount of time. (Not a druggie, just sayin …haha… I mean what company do you know does that? Kinda crazy). Because the perks are so fair, full time employment has to earned. I started as part time and moved to full time in a matter of two months… it’s up to you and your ambition.

2. Scheduling is usually prioritized to senior level employees. If you are a supervisor or manager, chances are you will be there Sunday. Managers however are on salary while supervisors are hourly. Only girly make time and a half, So if you become a supervisor, you can essentially be making the same amount as your manager every Sunday .they also do work with your schedule, but they deal with lots of call outs so don’t count on always having the days you want. Though I have worked with amazing managers who try their best to make a fixed schedule.
3. Depending on your area, (bakery and stocking) you will most likely come in early. Could be as early as 4am. Overnight shifts are part of the deal too I’m afraid, but only when holiday season starts. Again priority goes to supervisors and managers to get better hours because we’ve all been there and done that type of scenario.. so if you’re new… you’re doing most of the night shifts during the holidays. Still, everyone including supervisors and managers participate on night shifts, depends on your manager.

4. COVID vaccine is required. And you must wear a mask. They give you paid 4 days to recover from the vaccine symptoms 🙂

Also I would like to point out that salary at Costco is great. Not only do you get bonus after five years but you move up a lot and the starting salaries are not too shabby. Supervisors make between 58-65k (not counting bonus) and managers depending on the sector make 75+ (Also not counting bonus). The warehouse managers make on average around 130-150 ( also without bonus) and the longer you stay the more they give back on bonus… makes you wonder how much the people who has been there and moved up makes… a great thing about costco, is that you truly can build a career.

Oh by the way the best part of all is that if you ever decide to move out the state to a different costco, your salary doesn’t change 🙂 yes!

Tammie L Cloyes

Can you tell me about the trainings Costo employees have? Are there special trainings for certain levels?

Kendra

Yeah, you’ll need certain certifications and training, like how to handle the baler or spoiled food, but most of that is done while you are at the computer in the office. You do it during your work hours, so you’re paid for it.

Fay

Do you really only get 5 vacation days for your first year? Do you get any other time like PTO or sick?

Betty

What age can you start working at Costco? Do they hire seniors?
Is there a retirement age?

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