Starbucks Partner Hours: The Perks of Being a Partner

Starbucks Partner Hours is one of the world’s most iconic and successful coffee companies. Founded in Seattle in 1971, Starbucks has grown from a single storefront to over 30,000 locations worldwide. Known for its premium coffees, cozy cafe ambiance, and distinctive green logo, Starbucks has become a daily ritual for millions.

An important part of Starbucks’ success is its investment in employees, known as “partners.” Starbucks offers its partners generous benefits and perks, including the partner hours program. This allows partners to accrue paid time off to use for vacations, sick time, or personal days. The partner hours program is indicative of Starbucks’ philosophy of “treating employees like family.” By providing industry-leading benefits, Starbucks aims to inspire passionate, loyal partners who will in turn create an excellent customer experience.

The Starbucks partner hours program allows eligible Starbucks partners to accrue hours based on the number of hours they work. Partners can then redeem their hours as paid time off. This provides partners flexibility, financial security, and work-life balance. In a traditionally high-turnover food service industry, benefits like the partner hours program help attract and retain talented people. This contributes to Starbucks’ consistent quality and service worldwide. Partner hours represent Starbucks’ commitment to be an industry leader not just in coffee, but also in employee satisfaction.

What are Starbucks Partner Hours?

Starbucks Partner Hours are a benefit program offered to eligible Starbucks employees, known as “partners”. The program allows partners to accrue hours based on the number of hours worked.

Partner hours function as a form of internal currency at Starbucks. For every hour a partner works, they earn 1 partner hour (up to a maximum cap). The accrued partner hours do not expire and roll over year to year.

Partners can redeem their hours in a few key ways:

  • Education Benefits – Partners can use their hours to pay for tuition at Arizona State University’s online program. Starbucks covers the remainder of tuition costs after partner hours are applied.

  • Health Benefits – Hours can be redeemed to pay for portions of health insurance premiums under Starbucks healthcare plans.

  • Partner Perks – Partners can use hours on special deals and discounts offered through the Partner Perks program, including deals on Starbucks products and merchandise.

  • Paid Time Off – Hours can supplement paid vacation, sick time, and parental leave.

The partner hours program provides Starbucks employees access to benefits and perks that enhance their work experience. It serves as an incentive to work more hours while allowing partners to save and redeem hours in meaningful ways aligned with Starbucks benefits offerings.

Eligibility for Partner Hours

To be eligible for Starbucks partner hours, you must be a Starbucks employee. Specifically, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be classified as a Starbucks partner on payroll. This includes both part-time and full-time baristas, shift supervisors, store managers, and corporate employees.

  • You must work a minimum of 20 hours per week at a corporate-owned Starbucks location. Licensed store employees are not eligible.

  • You must have an active status – meaning you’re currently employed and on a Starbucks payroll. Partners on leaves of absence don’t accrue hours.

To enroll, newly hired partners are automatically registered for benefits after 60 days of employment. For existing employees, open enrollment happens once per year, usually in the fall. During this time, partners can newly enroll or make changes to their benefits selections.

In these cases, partners can newly elect benefits by contacting the Starbucks Benefits Center within 30 days of the event.

Overall, the enrollment process is designed to be simple for eligible Starbucks partners. By meeting the hourly and employment eligibility requirements, partners gain access to Starbucks’ generous benefits packages and perks.

Accruing Partner Hours

Starbucks partners accrue paid time off through a system called Partner Hours. The number of hours accrued each year depends on the partner’s position and length of tenure with the company.

  • Baristas accrue up to 40 hours of PTO per year. After 2 years of employment, this increases to 48 hours. Shift supervisors start at 48 hours and accrue up to 56 hours after 2 years. Store managers and assistant store managers accrue the most at 80 hours per year.

  • Partner Hours are accrued each pay period based on the number of hours worked. The accrual rate ranges from 0.01923 hours to 0.03846 hours per hour worked. This results in partners earning between 1-2 Partner Hours for every 40 hours worked.

  • Partners are eligible to use accrued hours after working for 90 days. Hours can be used in hourly increments for vacation, sick time, or personal time off.

Using Partner Hours

Starbucks partners can use their accrued hours for paid time off, including sick time, vacation time, and parental leave. The company has clear policies around usage:

  • Sick time: Partners can use sick time when they are ill and unable to work.

  • Vacation time: Partners need to request vacation time off at least 2 weeks in advance. Requests are subject to approval based on staffing needs and established by the manager.

  • Parental leave: New parents can take up to 6 weeks paid parental leave for birth mothers and 2 weeks paid leave for other new parents. Requests should be made as early as possible.

  • Personal leave: Partners can request personal leave for needs outside of vacation and illness. These requests require advance notice and manager approval.

  • Bereavement leave: Paid bereavement leave of up to 3 days is provided for immediate family members. Additional unpaid time off may be granted.

Partners should submit leave requests through the company’s time off request system. The manager reviews the request based on business needs and staffing requirements. They can approve or deny the request. Partners are encouraged to request time off well in advance and may be asked to adjust dates if coverage is an issue. Clear communication with the manager is key for getting time off approved.

Partner Hour Benefits

Starbucks offers a variety of excellent benefits to partners who work a minimum number of hours per week. Some key benefits include:

Paid Time Off

  • Sick pay – Partners accrue 1 hour of sick pay for every 30 hours worked. This can be used if you or a family member gets sick.

  • Vacation pay – After 6 months, partners start accruing vacation hours based on the number of hours worked. The rate increases after 2 years and 5 years. Vacation hours can be used for any personal time off.

  • Parental leave – New parents can take up to 6 weeks paid leave to bond with their child.

Tuition Coverage

  • Starbucks College Achievement Plan offers 100% tuition coverage for a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University through an online program. Partners are eligible after working 240 hours in a quarter.

  • Starbucks also offers tuition discounts and scholarships at over 80 other universities.

Stock Grants

  • Eligible partners receive stock grants, or RSUs. After 2 years you can get RSUs which vest over 2 years.

  • Stock grants help partners share in Starbucks success. The share price typically increases over time.

Other Benefits

  • Comprehensive health insurance plans are available. Starbucks pays for a portion of the premiums.

  • All partners get a free food and drink item while working.

  • Eligible partners also receive a free box of coffee or tea each week.

  • A 401(k) retirement plan is available with Starbucks matching contributions.

So in summary, Starbucks offers industry-leading benefits to support partners, including paid time off, tuition coverage, stock grants, health insurance, and more. The benefits reward partners and promote retention.

Partner Perks

Starbucks offers its partners (employees) a number of excellent perks that make working there more enjoyable.

Food and Beverage Perks

Partners receive free beverages during their shifts, including unlimited free refills. They also get one free food item per shift, such as a sandwich, salad, or snack. Partners can take home one pound of coffee beans or a box of K-Cup pods each week.

Merchandise Discounts

Partners get 30% off merchandise at company-operated Starbucks stores. This includes coffee mugs, tumblers, brewing equipment, packaged coffee, and more. Discounts are also offered on Starbucks gift cards.

Partner Services

Starbucks provides partners with resources to support their physical and mental wellbeing. This includes access to counseling sessions, backup child and adult care, and tuition reimbursement through Arizona State University’s online program. Partners can also take advantage of career development tools to grow their skills.

Partnership with Arizona State University

In 2014, Starbucks partnered with Arizona State University to offer tuition reimbursement to eligible employees through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. This program provides full tuition coverage for juniors and seniors pursuing their first undergraduate degree online at ASU.

Since the program launched, over 16,000 Starbucks partners have enrolled at ASU through the College Achievement Plan. As of 2019, over 3,000 partners had graduated. This program has made higher education accessible for thousands of Starbucks employees who may not have been able to afford it otherwise. It’s an innovative employee benefit that demonstrates Starbucks’ investment in their partners. The partnership with ASU showcases Starbucks’ commitment to providing opportunities for partners to grow their careers.

Pros and Cons

Starbucks partner hours come with several key advantages compared to hourly wages at other major retailers:

  • Tuition coverage at ASU through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. After accruing 520 hours in 6 months, partners are eligible for full tuition coverage to earn an online bachelor’s degree at ASU. This is a major perk not offered at most hourly retail jobs.

  • Flexible scheduling. Partners can pick up extra shifts to accrue hours faster for benefits like tuition coverage. The flexible scheduling makes it easier to balance school and work.

  • Healthcare benefits. Partners can access comprehensive health insurance by working just 240 hours in 3 months. Many retailers require full-time status for health benefits.

  • Paid time off accrual. Partners start accruing paid sick leave after 240 hours and paid vacation time after one year. Most retailers don’t offer paid time off for part-time workers.

  • 401(k) savings plan. Partners are eligible after 1,000 hours and Starbucks matches contributions up to 5%. Retirement benefits are rare for hourly workers in retail.

Potential drawbacks include:

  • Variable hours. Shifts vary week-to-week based on store needs, making it difficult to predict income. This can complicate budgeting compared to a fixed part-time schedule.

  • Fast-paced environment. Starbucks stores tend to be busier than the average retail establishment. Partners need to be comfortable with a fast-paced work environment.

  • Lower wages for some markets. Hourly pay rates vary but are around minimum wage in many markets, which can make accrual of hours take longer.

Overall, Starbucks offers unmatched benefits for hourly retail workers. The combination of tuition coverage, healthcare, retirement savings, and PTO make partner hours very advantageous compared to other major retailers.


The Starbucks Partner Hours program provides employees with a valuable set of benefits that can increase engagement, satisfaction, and retention. By accruing partner hours through active employment, partners gain access to perks like free drinks, discounts, tuition coverage, and more.

Key highlights of the partner hours program include:

  • Eligibility starts after 240 hours of employment in a calendar quarter
  • Hours are accrued based on the number of hours worked
  • Unused hours roll over quarter to quarter
  • Perks like free drinks and merchandise discounts unlock at different hour milestones
  • After 2,000 hours, partners are eligible for full tuition coverage at ASU through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan

The partner hours program demonstrates Starbucks’ investment in its employees. By tying benefits directly to hours worked, Starbucks rewards partners for their loyalty and hard work. The program incentivizes retention and helps partners share in the company’s success. It also promotes continuous learning through the ASU partnership.

Overall, the partner hours program is a prime example of the competitive benefits Starbucks offers its workforce.

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