The minimum wage in Alaska increased to $10.19 per hour as of January 1, 2020. The Alaska minimum wage was $9.89 per hour for 2019, $9.84 per hour for 2018, $9.80 per hour for 2017, $9.75 per hour for 2016, and $8.75 for 2015.
Alaska requires daily overtime pay. An employee is entitled to 1 ½ times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 8 per day or 40 per week. If an employee is paid overtime pay for working more than 8 hours on any day of the week, those hours do not need to be counted again when determining whether an employee has worked more than 40 hours for the week because those hours have already been counted and paid as overtime.
Alaska’s labor laws state that “flex-time or flexitime plans…providing a fixed salary for fluctuating hours up to a predetermined maximum number of hours in a workweek” are not an acceptable method of complying with Alaska’s overtime statute. 8 AAC § 15.100(d)(3). This means that employers in Alaska may not use the fluctuating-workweek method to calculate overtime pay (aka “Chinese Overtime” or half-time for overtime)
Please note employers with less than 4 employees are not subject to the Alaska state overtime laws.
Under Alaska state law, the following employees do not have to be paid minimum wage:
- Agricultural workers
- Workers employed in the taking of aquatic life
- Workers who hand pick shrimp
- Domestic service workers (including babysitters) employed in or about a private home
- Workers employed by the United States, State or local government
- Workers who offer services to a nonprofit religious, charitable, cemetery, or educational organization on a voluntary basis
- Workers who deliver newspapers to the consumer
- Watchmen or caretakers of property, plants or premises that are not in operation for 4 or more months
- Workers who are employed in a bona fide executive, professional, or administrative* capacity as defined by regulations of the Commissioner of Labor, or as an outside salesman or any salesman working on a straight commission basis. *Please note, Alaska state law requires that an employee be paid a salary of not less than 2 times the state minimum wage for the first 40 hours per week (currently $787.20 per week) for the executive, administrative, or professional exemption to apply.
- Workers who search for placer or hard rock minerals
- Minors under 18 years hold who work 30 hours or less per week
- Certain house parents (see regulations for details)
- Independent cab drivers
- Big game guide who holds a license under AS 08.54 and who is employed by a registered guide or master guide licensed under AS 08.54, for the first 60 work days in which the person is employed by the registered guide or master guide during a calendar year
Under Alaska state law, the following employees do not have to be paid overtime:
- Workers who work for a business with less than 4 employees
- Workers who handle, pack, store, pasteurize, dry, prepare, or can raw or natural agricultural or horticultural commodities for market or make cheese, butter or other dairy products
- Workers in small mining operation who employee less than 13 people as long as the worker does not work more than 12 hours a day or 56 hours per week during a period of not more than 14 workweeks in any calendar year during mining season.
- Agricultural workers
- Workers who are employed by newspapers with a circulation of less than 1,000
- Switchboard operators who are employed by a public telephone exchange with less than 750 stations
- Workers who handle telegraphic, telephone or radio messages for the public under an agency contract where the revenue of such agency does not exceed $500 per month
- Forestry or lumber operation employees who work for a company with 12 or less employees
- Outside buyers of poultry, eggs, cream or milk in their raw or natural state
- Casual employees as defined by regulations of the Commissioner of Labor
- Certain workers who provide emergency medical service.
- Work performed by an employee under a Flexible Work Hour Plan if the plan is included as part of a collective bargaining agreement
- Work performed by an employee under a Voluntary Flexible Work Hour Plan if:
- The employee and the employer have signed a written agreement and the written agreement has been filed with the Labor Department; and
- The Labor Department has issued a certificate approving the plan which states the work is for 40 hours a week and not more than 10 hours a day; for work over 40 hours a week or 10 hours a day under a Flexible Work Hour Plan not included as part of a collective bargaining agreement, compensation at the rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay shall be paid for the overtime
- Line haul truck drivers working routes exceeding 100 road miles each way, if compensated under a system that meets certain requirements.
- Community health aides employed by a local or regional health organization as those terms are defined in AS 18.28.100.
Holidays / Vacation
Alaska state law does not require that an employer offer sick leave, vacation pay, paid holidays, or premium pay for working on holidays. If an employer offers these benefits, they may determine the terms and conditions under which they are offered.
Meal Breaks / Rest Periods
Under Alaska state law, employer must provide minors (ages 14-17) with at least a 30 minute break period if they work 5 or more consecutive hours. No breaks are required for employees who are 18 and older.
If an employer allows a break and the break is less than 20 minutes, the employee must be paid for the break. If an employer offers a break for longer than 20 minutes and relieves the employee of all work duties during the break, the employer does not have to pay the employee for the break time.
An employee and employer may agree to monthly pay periods in an initial contract of employment. Otherwise, the employee may elect to be paid monthly or semi-monthly.
An employee must be paid all final wages within 3 working days if the employee is terminated by the employer. If the employee quits or resigns, payment is due at the next regular payday that is at least 3 days after the employer received notice of the employee’s resignation.
Employers can make deductions for missing cash, register shortages, missing or stolen property only if the employee has willingly admitted in writing to having taken the missing cash or property. If an employer loans money to an employee, the employee must give written authorization for the employee to deduct payment from the employee’s wages. A blanket authorization for future deductions at the time of hire is not valid. Items that are authorized by law, such as taxes and court-ordered deductions like child support or garnishments, are valid deductions.
Statute of Limitations
Overtime and minimum wage claims must be filed within 2 years from the date the work was performed. Wage and benefit claims must be filed within 3 years from the date the work was performed.