Alaska Wage Laws
Minimum wage workers in the state of Alaska have not seen an increase in the minumum wage since 2010. However, in 2015, Alaska is one of 21 states that will be raising their minimum wage. From 1991, when the minimum wage was only $4.75 per hour, it has been raised periodically until 2010, where it has remained at the rate of $7.75 for the past four years.
What Is the 2015 Minimum Wage Increase for Alaska?
In 2015, the minimum wage for Alaska employees will be increased to $8.75, and then on Jan. 1, 2016, another increase will take place raising it to $9.75 per hour. It is expected to continue in incremental increases each year. While most people would expect the first increase to begin on Jan. 1, 2015, it does not go into effect until Feb. 24, 2015. The reason: The bill that was supposed to be voted on during the August primary elections missed inclusion on the ballot due to Alaska's Legislative session exceeding its 90-day limit. Because it is a citizen's initiative, according to Alaska's constitution, it could not appear on the statewide ballot until the Legislative session had been adjourned for 120 days.
This raise will affect over 16,000 employees in the state of Alaska. Others will also be affected indirectly by the new wage measurements. In total, 48,000 Alaskans are expected to experience some kind of affect by the increase.
Who Is Eligible for Minimum Wage in Alaska?
According to the Alaska Division of Labor Standards and Safety, most employees are eligible for the standard minimum wage, with the following exceptions:
- Bus drivers are eligible for twice the amount of the minimum wage.
- Those employed in agriculture are excluded.
- Those employed in the business of taking the life of aquatic creatures are excluded.
- Those employed in the business of hand-picking shrimp are excluded.
- Those employed in domestic work, such as babysitting or housekeeping services, for private homes are excluded.
- Government employees are excluded.
- Volunteers for nonprofit businesses or charities are excluded.
- Newspaper deliverers are excluded.
- Watchmen or caretakers of property that has been out of operation for four or more months are excluded.
- Those working in a bona fide executive, professional or administrative position as described by the Commissioner of Labor, or on a straight commission as a sales person are excluded.
- Those employed in a rock or mineral search business are excluded.
- Employees under 18 who work less than 30 hours per week are excluded.
- Certain employees of nonprofit child care or educational programs where residence at the facility is required, and the employee also receives additional cash compensation -- which is under $10,000 annually for a single person or under $15,000 annually for a married couple -- are excluded.
- Not eligible -- independent cab drivers.
- Eligibility for the first 60 days in a calendar year is excluded for a guide who is licensed under AS 08.54 and works for a registered or master guide (also licensed under AS 08.54).
Employers who are not under the exclusions above are required to follow the state's minimum wage standards by paying the minimum per hour or more to each employee, whether they are a part-time or full-time employee. The federal minimum wage amount is decided by a government committee, and is based on the current economy and cost of living. Individual state governments may impose a different minimum wage per state.
Does the Minimum Wage Affect Overtime Pay?
Overtime pay laws are not affected by the new minimum wage changes. They remain the same. Any employee who works more than 40 hours in one week is to be paid at least one and one-half their regular rate of pay. Per the Federal Labor and Standards Act, who establishes wage and pay standards, there are some industries or types of jobs that are excluded from the FSLA standards, but in general, the rules and policies apply to upwards of 130 million employees in the United States.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Wage and Hour Articles
- What are the rules on final paychecks in Alaska?
- When is the final paycheck due when an employee is fired under Alaska law?
- When is the final paycheck due when an employee quits under Alaska law?
- Under what circumstances can a final paycheck be withheld under Alaska law?
- What deductions may an employer make from an employee's final paycheck under Alaska law?
- What recourse does an employee have under Alaska law if he or she is unable to obtain his or her final paycheck from a former employer?