Six Companies With Amazing Employee Benefits

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Up to 7%, or 12,000, of Starbucks (SBUX) workforce may face a pink slip soon, as the java giant plans to shut down about 600 of its U.S. locations. While the chain says it hopes to relocate those employees to other sites, not all will be so fortunate. And, for these laid-off full and part-time workers, it’s not just about losing a paycheck; it’s about losing all their employer-sponsored benefits, including health, dental, and vision plans.

For those looking for work in the consumer retail space (outside Starbucks, since they probably won't be hiring much this year), here are some alternative employers with competitive benefits:

COSTCO
As if having access to the aisles of free food samples all day isn’t enough of a perk, Costco’s (COST) full-time, part-time (minimum 20 hours per week), and salaried workers all receive a generous benefits package after the first month of employment. This includes health and dental care, prescription and vision programs, as well as a 401(k) for which Costco matches half of employee contributions up to $1,000 each year, for a maximum match of $500 annually. Workers can also opt for life insurance and long-term disability insurance, which pays 60% of their salary up to 180 days of being out of work. Learn more here: http://www.costcobenefits.com

BORDERS
Benefits include medical, dental, and vision plans. Borders (BGP) employees are automatically given basic life insurance as well as short and long-term disability insurance. Not to mention, you get financial aid for adoption, free help to quit smoking and a fat discount at Gold’s Gym. Oh, and 33% off most books. Learn more here: http://www.borders.com/online/store/BGIView_benefitsinfo

BARNES & NOBLE

The Borders rival prides itself on offering health coverage to both full and part-time workers and is one of the first employers to offer domestic partner coverage, in addition to spousal and child coverage. There’s also access to a 401(k) plan, wherein after 1,000 hours of service, B&N (BKS) matches 4%. And, if full-time workers want to continue their education, B&N offers tuition assistance. In-store discounts equal 30%. Learn more here: http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/jobs/benefits/benefits.html

GAP, Inc.
Gap Inc. (GPS) , which runs Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy, offers the whole kit and caboodle when it comes to medical benefits. Additionally, employees have access to a 401(k), a stock repurchase plan and can qualify for tuition reimbursement. Gap is also big on volunteering. Its Take Five initiative lets workers spend up to five paid hours a month to volunteer. Learn more here: http://www.gapinc.com/public/Careers/car_bene.shtml

PETCO

If you love animals and medical benefits, Petco may be a nice fit. On top of the medical plan perks, Petco offers a 401(k), life and disability insurance, a flex spending account, paid time off, and even insurance for your pet. Learn more here: http://www.petco.com/Content/Content.aspx?PC=benefits&Nav=126&=

WHOLE FOODS MARKET

The organic superstore pays for 100% of all its employees’ health insurance premiums. Whole Foods Market's (WFMI) benefits include medical, dental, vision, and a “wellness plan,” which helps cover the costs of qualifying out-of-pocket health expenses. Life insurance, disability insurance, and a 401(k) are also standard. As an added bonus, workers can apply for credit union membership and are eligible for paid leave of absence…and all the organic jelly beans they want for 20% off. Learn more here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers/benefits.html

Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.

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