Alaska Labor Laws

Alaska Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Alaska is $10.34 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2021. That’s up from $10.19 in 2020.

USA map with Alaska superimposed

Note: In Alaska, public school bus drivers must be paid two times the state minimum wage.

2022 Alaska Labor Law Posters

Have all of your state and federal required posters updated whenever the laws change.

History of Alaska Labor Laws

In 1959, the first Alaska legislature passed a law setting the state minimum wage at $1.50 per hour, which at that time was $0.50 higher than required under the Fair Labor Standards Act – and the Alaska minimum wage rate has been higher than the federal rate ever since. In fact, by law Alaska’s minimum wage must exceed the federal minimum wage rate by at least $1 per hour.

Municipality Minimum Wage Laws

Alaska doesn’t have a law preempting municipalities from setting their own minimum wage rates. However, no cities have set their own rates.

Alaska Minimum Wage Exemptions

Not everyone in Alaska must be paid the state minimum wage. Exemptions to the Alaska Wage and Hour Act include individuals employed:

  • in agriculture
  • in the taking of aquatic life or in the hand-picking of shrimp
  • in domestic service (including babysitting) in or about a private home
  • by U.S., state or local governments
  • in voluntary service in the nonprofit activities of a religious, charitable, cemetery, educational or other nonprofit organization which are related only to the organization’s nonprofit activities
  • in a bona fide executive, professional or administrative capacity as defined by federal regulations; in certain computer occupations; or as an outside or commissioned salesperson
  • by a motor vehicle dealer in certain occupations
  • as a volunteer who provides emergency medical services, who serves with a full-time fire department or who helps with ski patrol services
  • by the University of Alaska as a student participating in a practicum
  • as a person licensed under AS 08.54 and who is employed by a registered guide or master guide licensed under AS 08.54 for the first 60 workdays so employed during a calendar year
  • as an independent taxicab driver who establishes the driving area and hours, who contracts on a flat rate basis for use of the cab, permit or dispatch services, and who is compensated solely by the customers served
  • solely as a watchman or caretaker on a premises out of operation for longer than four months
  • in delivery of newspapers to the consumer
  • in the search for placer or hard rock minerals
  • as an individual working in the Alaska temporary assistance program
  • by a nonprofit educational or child care facility to serve in place of a parent of children in residence if the employment requires residence at the facility and is compensated on a cash basis exclusive of room and board at an annual rate of not less than $10,000 for an unmarried person or $15,000 for a married couple

Alaska Posting Requirements

Required posters:

  • Minimum Wage
  • Safety and Health Protection on the Job
  • Child Labor
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Emergency Information
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • No Smoking

Tipped Wage in Alaska

Alaska doesn’t have a tipped wage, so employers must pay $10.19 per hour regardless of any tips earned.

Overtime Wage in Alaska

The Alaska overtime law applies to employers with four or more employees.

Alaska is one of only a handful of daily overtime states, meaning employers must pay the overtime rate of time-and-a-half the regular rate of pay any time an employee works more than eight hours in a day and regardless of the number of hours worked for the week. The overtime rate also applies after 40 hours in a week.

The list of who’s exempt from overtime under the Alaska Wage and Hour Act is lengthy. It includes the state minimum wage exemptions and adds these and other exemptions:

  • an individual employed in handling, packing, storing, pasteurizing, drying, canning or preparing in their raw or natural state agricultural or horticultural commodities for market, or in making cheese, butter or other dairy products
  • agricultural employees
  • an employee employed as a seamen
  • workers engaged in planting or tending trees, cruising, surveying, bucking or felling timber, preparing or transporting logs or other forestry products to the mill, processing plant, railroad or other transportation terminal, if the total number of employees in such lumber operations does not exceed 12
  • an individual employed as an outside buyer of poultry, eggs, cream or milk in their raw or natural state
  • hospital employees whose duties include the provision of medical services
  • an employee under a flexible work hour plan that is included as part of a collective bargaining agreement
  • an employee under a voluntary flexible work plan if the employee and employer have signed a written agreement that has been approved by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (note: overtime rates must be paid for work over 40 hours a week and over the hours specified on the flexible work hour plan not included in a collective bargaining agreement)
  • a community health aide employed by a local or regional health organization
  • work performed by certain flat-rate mechanics primarily engaged in servicing automobiles, light trucks and motor homes
  • an employee of a small mining operation where not more than 12 people are employed, as long as the individual is not employed in excess of 12 hours per day or 56 hours per week during a period of not more than 14 workweeks in the aggregate in any calendar year during the mining season
  • an employee employed in connection with publication of a weekly, semiweekly or daily newspaper with a circulation of less than 1,000
  • casual employees, as defined by regulations of the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development
  • a line haul truck driver for a trip exceeding 100 road miles one way if the driver’s pay includes overtime pay for work in excess of 40 hours per week or eight hours per day, and if the rate of pay is comparable to the minimum wage
  • work performed by an employee under a voluntary written agreement addressing the trading of work shifts among employees, if employed by an air carrier subject to subchapter II of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. §§ 181-188), including employment as a customer service representative, subject to certain provisions (see AS 23.10.060(d)(18))
  • work performed by a flight crew member employed by an air carrier subject to 45 U.S.C. §§ 181-188 (subchapter II of the Railway Labor Act)
  • a switchboard operator employed in a public telephone exchange that has fewer than 750 stations
  • an employee in otherwise exempted employment or a proprietor in a retail or service establishment engaged in handling telegraphic, telephone or radio messages under an agency or contract arrangement with a telegraph or communications company where the telegraph message or communications revenue of the agency does not exceed $500 per month

Child Labor Laws in Alaska

Although the federal minimum wage rate applies to minors working in Alaska, the Alaska Wage and Hour Act doesn’t require employers to pay a minor under the age of 18 the state minimum wage – if that minor is employed part-time, for 30 hours or fewer per week. However, employers that don’t watch the clock carefully may end up issuing bigger paychecks than planned. Reason: If a minor works more than 30 hours, then the employer is required to pay the state minimum wage rate to that employee for ALL hours worked in that workweek.

The Alaska Child Labor Law sets up hours restrictions that employers must follow for 14- and 15-year-old employees.

When school is in session:

  • These minors can work between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • The combination of school attendance and employment can’t exceed nine hours per day. Domestic employment, babysitting and handiwork in a private home, and newspaper delivery don’t need to be counted toward the nine-hour limit. Typically, the school day lasts about six hours, leaving employers about three hours to schedule 14- and 15-year-old employees to work.
  • Total hours of work can’t exceed 23 per week for these minors.

During school vacation, 14- and 15-year-old minors can work:

  • 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • eight hours per day
  • 40 hours per week

Minors under the age of 18 can’t work more than six days per week. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development sometimes grants waivers upon written request. For example, seafood processors or vendors at the Alaska State Fair have at times been issued waivers. No matter who’s making the request, though, certain criteria must be met for an employer to get the go-ahead for a seven-day workweek, with the bottom line being the child’s welfare and safety.

Minors under 18 must be given a 30-minute break after five consecutive hours of work or before that. It’s critical for employers not to exceed that five-hour mark, not even by a couple minutes. That’s because the Department of Labor and Workforce Development strictly enforces the rules involving minors. Also keep in mind that the minor must be completely relieved of all duties for the full 30 minutes and that the break can’t occur within the first 90 minutes or last hour of the minor’s work shift. So let’s say a minor is scheduled to work six consecutive hours during the summer from noon until 6 p.m. Employers should plan for the break to begin somewhere between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. – and ideally at around 3 p.m.

Employer Recordkeeping Requirements

For employees who are subject to the minimum wage or overtime provisions of the Wage and Hour Act, records must be maintained covering these 12 data elements:

  • Name in full, as used for Social Security recordkeeping purposes, and on the same record, the employee's identifying symbol or number if such is used in place of name on any time, work or payroll records
  • Home address, including ZIP code
  • Date of birth, if under 19
  • Sex and occupation in which employed
  • Time of day and day of week on which the employee's workweek begins (or for employees employed under section 7(k) of the act, the starting time and length of each employee's work period). If the employee is part of a workforce or employed in or by an establishment all of whose workers have a workweek beginning at the same time on the same day, a single notation of the time
  • of the day and beginning day of the workweek for the whole workforce or establishment will suffice
  • (i) Regular hourly rate of pay for any workweek in which overtime compensation is due under section 7(a) of the act, (ii) explanation of basis of pay indicating the monetary amount paid on a per hour, per day, per week, per piece, commission on sales, or other basis, and (iii) the amount and nature of each payment which, pursuant to section 7(e) of the act, is excluded from
  • the "regular rate" (these records may be in the form of vouchers or other payment data)
  • Hours worked each workday and total hours worked each workweek
  • Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings or wages due for hours worked during the workday or workweek, exclusive of premium overtime compensation
  • Total premium pay for overtime hours. This amount excludes the straight-time earnings for overtime hours recorded under paragraph (a)(8) of this section
  • Total additions to or deductions from wages paid each pay period including employee purchase orders or wage assignments. Also, in individual employee records, the dates, amounts, and nature of the items which make up the total additions and deductions
  • Total wages paid each pay period
  • Date of payment and the pay period covered by payment

For employees who are exempt from overtime, employers can remove points 6 through 10 from the above list – but add this: the basis on which wages are paid in sufficient detail to permit calculation for each pay period of the employee's total remuneration for employment including fringe benefits and prerequisites.

Payroll records must be kept for three years.

Recent Alaska Labor Law Updates

Minimum Wage - January 2021

The Alaska Minimum Wage poster was updated to reflect an increase in the minimum wage rate. Effective January 1, 2021, the minimum wage is $10.34 per hour.

Minimum Wage - January 2020

The Alaska Minimum Wage poster was updated to reflect an increase in the minimum wage rate. Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum wage is $10.19 per hour.

OSHA - November 2018

The Alaska OSHA poster updated penalty amounts. Penalties could reach $12,934 for each serious violation and $129,336 for willful or repeat violations.

Child Labor Laws - February 2018

The Alaska Child Labor Law poster was updated to reflect current industry information for certain age groups.

Alaska Labor Law Questions & Answers

2022 Alaska Labor Law Posters

Have all of your state and federal required posters updated whenever the laws change.