Before diving into more specific regulations, let's look at the general minimum wage regulations in Alaska.
According to the Alaska Wage and Hour Act (in effect since January 1st, 2021) the minimum hourly wage requirement is $10.34. This goes for both tipped and non-tipped occupations. We can define tips as certain amounts of money that are freely provided by the customers to employees, in relation to the recognition of their service.
The minimum wage has been obligatorily increasing with the inflation rate, and, interestingly, set to be at least $1 higher than the federal minimum wage.
While labor laws aim to be universal, there are exceptions to certain sectors, or specific situations. To provide an example, a school bus drivers' minimum wage is normally 2 times the regular minimum wage.
It's important to be well-informed about what is rightfully earned. The list below could give you a general idea if some types of employees in Alaska are entitled to higher compensation — but, we would also advise consulting an expert in your field (or a legal or tax advisor) for more information.
Said act states that employers don't have to compensate minors at the same rate of hourly minimum wage.
The actual lower threshold is set at $4.95 (during the first 90 days of employment) — but the wages are usually higher than that, somewhere in the range between $4.95 and $10.34, depending on the job in question.
The only exception is a minor who has a special hours permit, more specifically — to work over 30 hours per week. In such instances, employers are required to compensate them at the regular state minimum wage rate.
If you're employed in Alaska, below is the list of cases and occupations that are not bound by regular Alaska minimum wage.
When it comes to requirements impacting pay and other benefits in Alaska, there are 4 key aspects to pay attention to.
Regulations established by the Fair Labor Standards Act define a working week as any seven consecutive working days and a total of 40 hours for this period.
When it comes to overtime, the situation in Alaska is the same as the federal laws require. Overtime refers to any number of hours exceeding the 40-hour weekly requirement (regular number for full-time employees) and is set to 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Meaning, it's $15.51 per hour for minimum wage workers.
Moreover, if employees work more than 8 hours per day, they are also entitled to overtime compensation, regardless of the total hours worked in a week.
However, there are several exceptions to the overtime rules in Alaska — from the age of employees and type (or sector) of their occupation, to the type of employment.
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Overtime exceptions and exemptions in Alaska
The main purpose of overtime laws is to prevent the employers from exploiting their workers. Illegal employer practices are usually regulated by the FLSA.
However, as with minimum wage, certain occupations and industries can have different rules concerning overtime.
It's not arbitrary, however, and the FLSA also provides a series of tests to determine the overtime eligibility.
For example, employers with up to 4 employees are not subject to Alaska overtime rules.
There are 4 main categories of exemption to overtime law, which are not protected by either federal or Alaska regulations. People working in these positions, which commonly require a college diploma, are commonly known as White Collar employees. For a White Collar employee to be exempt from the overtime regulation, there's a condition — one must earn at least $684 per week.
Those are the following types of employees:
- Executive — direct supervision and management of 2 or more employees at a salaried position — mostly positions of business, general, and executive management
- Administrative — salaried, non-manual work related to business operations, management policies, or administrative training — positions of financial officers and analysts, accountants, talent acquisition specialists, budget and marker analysts, etc.
- Professional — salaried positions of advanced knowledge and extensive education, including artists, certified teachers, and skilled computer professionals — positions of architects, software developers, engineers, lawyers, etc.
- Outside sales — salaried and commission-based positions of making sales or taking orders outside of their employer's main workplace — positions of sales representatives who regularly visit potential and existing clients on their premises
Other exceptions from the overtime rule in Alaska
Apart from the 4 categories above and any employees working in a business with less than 4 employees total, there are some other, more specific exceptions from overtime.
And here's what specific laws in Alaska state in regard to employees who do not have to be paid overtime:
- Agricultural workers
- Forestry or lumber workers (in a company with less than 12 employees)
- Employees handling, packing, storing, pasteurizing, drying, preparing, and canning any raw, natural, and agricultural commodities for market, or making cheese, butter, and other dairy products
- Workers in small mining operations employing less than 13 people (provided they don't work more than 56 hours a week or 12 hours a day, not longer than 14 workweeks in any calendar year
- Employees of newspapers with a circulation less than 1,000
- Switchboard operators employed by a public telephone exchange with less than 750 stations
- Public employees handling telegraphic, telephone, and radio messages working under a contract, in cases where the agency revenue doesn't exceed $500 per month
- Outside buyers of eggs, poultry, milk, and cream in their natural or raw state, who visit different locations instead of working in a fixed establishment
- Casual employees, as regulated per the Commission of Labor
- Workers providing medical services
- Employees whose original plan is under a Flexible Work Plan as a part of collective bargaining agreement
- Workers who perform work under a Voluntary Flexible Work plan (if 1. both parties had signed an agreement and filed it with the Labor Department and 2. The Labor Department has issued a certificate approving the plan — 40 hours per week, 10 hours per day, or the overtime rule applies)
- Line haul truck drivers who work on the routes exceeding 100 miles each way, with specific requirements are met for the compensation
- Community health aides employed by the defined terms (AS 18.28.100.) who are employed by local and regional health organizations
Alaska break laws
According to Alaska state law, an employer isn't legally obligated to provide nor allow meal or coffee breaks to employees older than 18.
In case an employer allows such breaks, there are 2 important things to mention.
The first thing goes for breaks of length up to 20 minutes — the employees must be compensated for that period.
However, if the employer offers a possibility of longer breaks, the employees are relieved of their duty during the break. That means they don't have to be compensated for the period of long breaks, as the time doesn't go into their working hours.
Exceptions to break laws in Alaska
As we've mentioned above, the lack of break regulations applies only to adults.
That's not the case for minors, for whom employers are required to provide a 30 minute meal break, after 5 hours of their work.
It's also important to mention that the minor employees don't have to be compensated for the duration of those breaks.
Alaska breastfeeding laws
The state of Alaska doesn't regulate breaks for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace specifically.
That means that the federal laws apply, so mothers are still protected by the FLSA.
The law states that working mothers who are still lactating and breastfeeding must be allowed a reasonable break period to do so. Other than that, employers have to provide a private, enclosed space for this activity. Said space can't be a bathroom.
Alaska leave requirements
Now let's see what happens if an employee needs to take a leave of absence from work.
What are the circumstances when employers must provide that period without an employee's position being endangered?
Are employers required to compensate their employees for the same period?
Here are the answers about required and non-required leave in Alaska.
Alaska required leave
First, let's mention the situations when an employee has the right to take a leave of absence and still be protected by the law:
- Family and medical leave
- Jury duty leave
- Voting time leave
- Witness leave
- Military leave
Family and medical leave
This type of leave is regulated by the Alaska Family Leave Act — FMLA.
In order to be eligible for a job-protected leave, employees must be working at least 1 year in that company, and for at least 1,250 hours.
If that is the case and they qualify for family and medical reasons, their employers must provide up to 12 weeks of leave in a period of 12 months.
Jury duty leave
If an employee is summoned to perform jury duty, they must be allowed to do so, without any negative consequences upon the return to work.
So, employers can't penalize their employees for this reason — but, they can choose not to compensate them for this type of leave.
Voting time leave
The state of Alaska protects all the employees who want to take time off to perform their civic duty of voting.
In case there are at least 2 hours between their shift and the poll opening/closing, they won't have to be compensated.
If not, employers are obligated to provide paid time off.
The law requires employers to provide either paid or unpaid leave for all their employees who are summoned to be a witness in any court.
Employers are entitled to this type of leave if their services are needed and they are registered members of:
- Alaska State Defense Force
- Alaska Naval Militia
- Alaska National Guard
Alaska non-required leave
Under the state law of Alaska, employers are not required to offer any of the following:
- Sick leave
- Vacation leave
- Holiday leave
- Bereavement leave
Even though these types of leave are not required, many employers choose to include some or all 4 in their company policy, thereby offering the chosen types of leave to all their employees.
In such instances, employers will dictate all the conditions, as they are allowed to choose, determine, and change the terms and regulations as they see fit.
Child labor laws in Alaska
The term refers to young people under 18 who CAN be employed — but with a different set of rules and regulations for different age groups.
These laws are also referred to as Alaska Child Labor Laws and include young people under 18 — and occasionally under 21, for specific industries involving alcohol, gambling, tobacco, etc.
The most important distinctions between minors and adults working can be found in the following categories:
- Allowed occupations
- Maximum number of hours worked per week
So, for example, even though the cannabis and marijuana industry is a legal sector of employment in Alaska, people under the age of 21 are forbidden to work in any of its branches.
The same goes for the tobacco industry, but with a lower threshold — the youth aged under 19 cannot work in this industry.
And, when it comes to the alcohol industry, minors under the age of 16 ought to have a special license from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Next, let's take a look at some additional rules in the Alaskan labor regulations, based on the specific age of the minors.
Since Alaska is an extremely specific example when it comes to child labor, we'll meticulously cover the laws for different age groups.
Employment for children under 14 years of age in Alaska
Let's start with children under 14 years of age, who are not allowed to work in most jobs.
However, they can be employed in the following 3 categories:
- Babysitting and other domestic employment in private homes,
- Newspaper delivery and sales, and
- Entertainment industry (provided they have an approved permit, issued by the Alaska Age and Hour Administration).
Employment for 14–15-year-olds in Alaska
As soon as the children turn 14, the rules for their employment become less strict.
They can engage in a wider range of work activities, but the rules vary depending on whether school is in session.
If the children aged 14 or 15 are on school break, they are legally allowed to work for 40 hours per week. The only restriction here is that their working hours must be between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.
However, the situation is different during the school year.
The working hours range stays the same — but the total of weekly hours is limited to 23 per week.
Prohibited for the age group of 14–15 year-olds in Alaska
On top of the above-mentioned restrictions, certain professions and industries are completely forbidden for this age category:
- Manufacturing, mining, processing
- Any occupation requiring the operation of power-driven machinery (office machinery is excluded)
- Any occupation in construction except office work (including demolition and repair)
- Public messenger service
- Any occupation in or about canneries (office work is excluded)
- Any work performed in or about engine rooms, boilers, and retorts
- Any work that's involved with maintenance/repair of the establishment's machines and equipment
- Any occupation that involves working from ladders, scaffolding, windowsills (or a similar substitute)
- Any occupation that involves handling and operating power-driven food slicers, choppers, cutters, grinders, and bakery-type mixers
- Any work in freezers and meat coolers, or related to preparation of meat for sale
- Loading and unloading to or from trucks, conveyors, and railroad cars
- Any occupation in warehousing and storages (office work is excluded)
- Any occupation involving use of sharpened tools
- Any occupation in transportation of people and property (office and sales work is excluded)
Employment of minors under 17 in Alaska
There are various restrictions in relation to this age category, so let's break them down in a comprehensive list.
Certain professions and industries are completely forbidden for minors under the age of 17:
Here's the form to apply for an employment permit for minors.
- Any occupation in manufacturing, use, or any kind of handling of explosives
- Any occupation that requires handling motor vehicles
- Any occupation or position in mining operations including coal
- Logging or other occupations in the operation of sawmills, lathe mills, shingle mills, and cooperage
- Any operation of power-driven machinery in woodworking
- Any occupation with exposure to radioactive substances and ionizing radiation
- Any operations involving elevators and other power-driven hoisting apparatus
- Any operations involving power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machines
- Any occupations in regard to slaughtering, meat processing, packing, and rendering
- Any occupation involving the operation and cleaning of power-driven paper product machinery
- Any occupation involving manufacturing of bricks, tiles, and kindred products
- Any occupation involving the operation and cleaning of circular saws, guillotine shears, and band saws
- Any occupation involved in wrecking, shipwrecking, and demolition
- Any occupation involving roofing operations
- Any occupation involving excavation operations
- Any electrical work with voltages exceeding 220, outside erection, repair, and meter testing (including telephone lines and telegraph)
- Any occupation involving exposure to blood-borne pathogens
- Any occupation involving canvassing, solicitation, and peddling of door-to-door contributions, along with acting as outside salespeople in general
Alaska labor laws — hiring and termination
There are various specific laws related to the beginning and the termination of employment and everyone should know about these laws as well.
Some of the questions we'll provide answers to include:
- What are the illegal categories of possible discrimination?
- Can employment be terminated at any time?
Termination laws in Alaska
Like many other states in the US, Alaska also relies on an "employment-at-will" policy. What does that mean?
Apart from the discriminatory reasons we've just mentioned, employers can terminate their employees' work engagement anytime, for any reason, or perhaps for no reason at all. Neither notice nor cause have to exist for the legal way to terminate someone's employment.
The "employment-at-will" doctrine goes both ways, so employees are also free to leave the position for any or no reason, at all times, and without suffering any negative consequences.
However, employees in Alaska can't be fired for the following reasons:
- Military service leave
- Jury duty leave
- Voting leave
- Family and medical leave
- Garnishment deductions
- Occupational safety and health issues reporting
That's how Alaska protects the rights of both employees and employers. Yet, some principles must be regulated, in terms of what's right and wrong.
What we're talking about is something called wrongful termination, which is illegal.
Discrimination is, of course, one of the examples of wrongful termination — but not the only one.
Other examples include:
If you are an employees wondering: "What can I do if I was fired unfairly in Alaska?", there is a solution. To better understand the legal ground for wrongful termination, reach out to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
- Breach of contract (when employers break the terms of a contract, e.g. don't pay wages), and
- Retaliation (when employers take negative action for employees practicing their legal rights).
Organizational exit laws in Alaska
Organizational exit refers to the process of managing the conditions of an employee leaving an organization. It can be categorized into 4 types — retirements, lay-offs, dismissals, and resignations.
There are 2 vital requirements in terms of organizational exit — references and final pay.
Qualified immunity is obtained, under Alaska law, pointing out that employers provide job references in good faith.
There are also 2 situations in which a lack of good faith is shown and those are:
- Employer recklessly or maliciously delivering misleading information
- Employer violating the employee's civil rights under the federal law, by disclosing information they aren't allowed to
Final paycheck in Alaska
As for the final pay, employees who resign must be paid regularly at the next payday (provided that the payday is at least 3 days later than the notice of resignation has been received.)
In case of fired or laid-off employees, they must receive their final paycheck within 3 working days of the termination date.
Discrimination laws in Alaska
Alaska pays special attention to discrimination, as the state is one of the most diverse in the US — both racially and ethnically. For this reason, under the Alaska Human Rights Law, there is a quite extensive Policy on Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity, taking care that a high-level of professional conduct is always applied.
Here are the basis for which an employee can't be discriminated against:
- Physical or mental disability
- Marital status
- Change in marital status
Cases of discrimination must be reported within 300 days of their occurrence and will be treated as confidential. Another important thing to mention is that it's also illegal for employers to retaliate if their employees had filed a complaint under the Alaska Human Rights Law.
The process of reporting discrimination consists of 3 stages:
Find out more about filing a complaint
- The complaint itself — drafting, notarizing, and filing
- The investigation by the Commission staff
- The conciliation — if substantial evidence is found
Occupational safety in Alaska
Occupational safety laws serve the purpose of employee protection in the workplace. This is regulated by the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health — AKOSH section of the law. Employers are required to provide necessary training and education, to reduce occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
The law requires that a safety representative must exist, who is in charge of internal inspection of safety and health standards. Representatives are also the ones who file the complaints about any potential threats.
In the state of Alaska, employees are allowed to report any issues directly to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development and call for an external inspection.
Considering that is their legal right, they mustn't be penalized for it.
Miscellaneous Alaska labor laws
Now that we've covered the most important aspects and categories regarding labor law in Alaska, let's mention some other laws that may be applicable.
- Whistleblower protection laws
- Background check laws
- Credit and investigative check laws
- Arrest and conviction check laws
- Employer use of social media regulations
- Drug and alcohol testing laws
- COBRA laws
- Record-keeping laws
Whistleblower protection laws
The term whistleblower refers to employees who expose certain information or an activity that they consider are illegal, illicit, unsafe, or immoral.
Under the state law in Alaska, such employees are protected and mustn't suffer any negative consequences for practicing their civil rights.
Background check laws
Background checks are allowed by all the employers in Alaska and are subject to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is the law that regulates the collection, accuracy, and distribution of information in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
There are some occupations that do require background checks — so here's the full list:
- School bus drivers
- Ambulatory surgical center employees
- Foster home employees
- Hospital employees
- Home health agency employees
- Hospice employees
- Care facility employees
- Free-standing birth center employees
- Child placement agency employees
- Assisted living home employees
Credit and investigative check laws
Credit and investigative checks are neither required nor prohibited by the state of Alaska. This means that the employer can conduct such checks based on their own judgment and the type of a position in question.
Arrest and conviction check laws
The same principle is applied to the arrest and conviction checks — any employer, at any time, can decide they want to conduct this type of checks about their current or potential employees.
Employer use of social media regulations
When it comes to employee personal social media accounts, the Legislature of the state of Alaska puts several restrictions on what employers can do.
It is forbidden for employers to request the following:
- Disclose any username, password, or other authentication method
- Provide access to personal account
- Change the settings of their personal accounts
- Add a person to the list of contacts associated with the personal account
Drug and alcohol testing laws
Employers in Alaska are not required to conduct drug and alcohol testing — but, such checks are not forbidden by law.
The law only regulates certain conditions if a lawsuit occurs, in order to protect employers from wrongful termination lawsuits.
If they suspect that an employee is using controlled substances at work, it means they are directly posing threats to safety — and, therefore, violating occupational safety and health regulations.
This group of laws refers to the continuation of employees' medical coverage expenses, even after the termination of employment.
The coverage continues for up to 18 months after the termination date in Alaska.
The law doesn't apply if the termination happened for the reason of gross misconduct.
It is also important to mention that the level of coverage may differ in that period.
According to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Alaska employers must keep accurate records of all of their employees.
While there isn't a standard/universal form of such records, there are regulations that dictate what data must be in those records.
Here's what the law considers to be basic records — the accurate information about all the employees that must be kept for a period of 3 years:
- Full name and social security number
- If an employee is under 19 years of age, birth date
- Beginning and ending dates of the regular pay period
- The total number of hours worked — per day
- The total number of hours worked — per week
- The basis of employee wages (per hour, per week, per month, or per piece of work)
- Regular rate of pay
- Total of both straight-time and overtime hours
- Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings
- Total weekly overtime earnings
- Any and all additions to or deductions from the wages, to include federal income tax deductions, FICA deductions, Alaska ESC deductions, if applicable, board and lodging costs, advances on pay, and other authorized deductions
- Total gross and net wages paid per pay period
- Exact dates of payment for each pay period
Aside from basic records, there are specific records — the ones on which the wage computations are based.
What do they include?
Well, for starters, any time cards and other time-keeping records. Those should be retained for 2 years and must be open for inspection by the Department's representatives.
Some other wage-related records within this category are:
- Wage rate tables,
- Time and work schedules,
- Piece work tickets,
- Records of additions and deductions.
We hope this Alaska labor law guide has been helpful. We advise you to make sure you've paid attention to the links we've provided, as most of them will lead you to the official government websites and other relevant information.
Please note that this guide was written in Q1 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this Alaska labor laws guide.
We strongly advise you to consult with the appropriate institutions and/or certified representatives before acting on any legal matters.
Clockify is not responsible for any losses or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal or tax advisors.