Alaska Labor Laws

March 13th 2024

This article covers:

What are Alaska Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Minimum Wage $11.73
Overtime 1.5 x $11.73 for any hours worked over 40 hours/week (or $17.59 for minimum wage workers)
Breaks Not required by law

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Alaska?

As one of the most diverse states in the US, both racially and ethnically, Alaska takes discrimination prevention very seriously. This is reflected in the extensive Alaska Human Rights Law Policy on Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity, which ensures that all employees are treated with professionalism and respect. Under this policy, when hiring, discrimination based on the following characteristics is illegal in the workplace:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Color
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Marital status
  • Change in marital status
  • Parenthood
  • Pregnancy

If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination, it is important to report it promptly — within 300 days of the incident. The complaint process involves three steps: firstly, filing a complaint with the Commission, which involves drafting, notarizing, and submitting it. Secondly, an investigation by Commission staff will follow and finally, conciliation will take place, if substantial evidence is found. These reports are treated confidentially and employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file a complaint under the Alaska Human Rights Law.

Alaska operates under the “employment-at-will” policy, which is commonly seen in many states across the US. This means that both employees and employers have the freedom to end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. While this policy may offer a sense of flexibility for both parties, limitations are set in place to protect the rights of employees. Terminating an employee for certain reasons, such as military service leave, jury duty, voting, family and medical leave, or for reporting occupational safety and health issues, is illegal and considered discriminatory. On the other hand, wrongful termination is also a violation of labor laws. This type of termination goes beyond discrimination and includes scenarios such as breach of contract when an employer fails to fulfill the terms outlined in a contract, and retaliation when an employee is negatively impacted for exercising their legal rights. In essence, the “employment-at-will” policy in Alaska exists to provide a balance between the rights of employees and employers, while also ensuring that the principles of what is considered right and wrong are regulated.

If you’ve been wrongfully terminated as an employee in Alaska and are seeking a solution, reach out to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to gain a better understanding of your legal rights.

Leaving an organization can be a complex process, but understanding the rules and regulations surrounding it can make the transition smoother. In Alaska, there are four types of departures – retirements, lay-offs, dismissals, and resignations – and each has its unique set of guidelines. Two of the most critical aspects of organizational exit are references and final pay. Alaska law ensures that employers provide job references in good faith, with qualified immunity. However, there are circumstances where a lack of good faith can be established, such as when the employer deliberately or maliciously provides false information, or when they disclose information that violates the employee’s civil rights under federal law. Regarding final pay, employees who resign must receive their final pay on the next regular payday, provided that the payday is at least three days after the resignation notice has been received. If an employee is fired or laid off, they must receive their final paycheck within three business days of the termination date.  

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Alaska?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Alaska that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – Alaska recognizes the importance of protecting employees who report misconduct or illegal activity within the workplace. The role of a whistleblower is one of courage and integrity. These employees are the ones who bring to light information or activities they believe are illegal, unethical, or a threat to public safety. In doing so, they put their careers and well-being on the line. Thankfully, Alaska recognizes the importance of safeguarding these individuals. Under state law, whistleblowers are protected from retaliation and are free to exercise their civil rights without fear of negative consequences.
  • Background Checks Laws – Employers must comply with Alaska’s background check laws to ensure the safety and security of the workplace and its employees. In Alaska, employers can conduct background checks on their potential employees in accordance with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act, regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, governs the accuracy, collection, and distribution of information. It’s crucial to note that certain occupations necessitate background checks, these include school bus drivers, teachers, employees of ambulatory surgical centers, foster home workers, hospital staff, home health agency personnel, hospice care providers, care facility employees, staff at free-standing birth centers, child placement agency workers, and assisted living home staff.
  • Credit and Investigative Checks Laws – Alaska has no state-mandated requirement or restriction on credit and investigative checks. Ultimately, the responsibility for determining the necessity of credit and investigative checks falls on the employer, who can weigh the benefits and drawbacks, based on the specific nature and responsibilities of the position being offered. It is important to keep in mind that while these types of checks may provide valuable insight into a candidate’s financial stability and background history, the decision to implement them is left solely to the discretion of the employer. 
  • Arrest and Conviction Checks Laws – In Alaska, employers have the freedom to conduct arrest and conviction checks on applicants as they see fit, without state-mandated requirements or restrictions. This flexibility allows employers to make informed decisions and create safe working environments, by considering the candidate’s qualifications and past experiences against the demands of the job. The decision to initiate these checks rests solely with the employer.
  • Social Media Laws – The state of Alaska’s Legislature places strict limitations on what employers are allowed to do when it comes to employees’ social media accounts. These restrictions ensure the privacy and security of employees’ online information. It is illegal for employers to engage in the following actions: demand the disclosure of usernames, passwords, or other authentication methods, require access to personal accounts, instruct employees to alter the settings of their accounts, and add individuals to the list of contacts associated with employees’ accounts.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws – Conducting drug and alcohol testing for employees is not mandatory in Alaska, however, it is not prohibited by law. The state only regulates specific circumstances in case of litigation to safeguard employers from wrongful termination lawsuits. If an employer suspects an employee of using controlled substances while on the job, it constitutes a direct threat to safety and violates occupational health and safety regulations. In such instances, conducting drug and alcohol tests may be necessary to ensure the well-being of the workplace and those within it.
  • COBRA Law – The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) applies to Alaska employers, ensuring that employees and their families have continued access to health insurance after a job loss or other qualifying event. In Alaska, employees are entitled to continued medical coverage expenses even after the termination of their employment and are protected from a sudden loss of health benefits. The coverage can extend for a maximum of 18 months following the termination date. However, it is important to note that if the termination was due to gross misconduct, this law will not apply. Additionally, the level of coverage during this period may vary. 
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Alaska law requires employers to maintain accurate and complete records of their employees, including their hours worked, pay, and other important information, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Although there is no standard form for these records, regulations dictate the necessary data to include. Basic records, which include detailed information about each employee, must be kept for 3 years. These include full name and social security number, address, occupation, birth date for those under 19, gender, and pay period information, including hours worked and pay rates. Specific records, used for wage computations, must be kept for 2 years and are subject to inspection by the Department. These records include time cards, wage rate tables, work schedules, piecework tickets, and records of additions and deductions.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Laws – Alaska places a strong emphasis on workplace safety through the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH) section of its laws. Employers have a responsibility to provide adequate training and education to prevent occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. To ensure safety standards are met, there must be a designated safety representative who oversees internal inspections and reports any potential hazards. In addition, employees in Alaska have the right to report any concerns directly to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development and request an external inspection. It’s important to note that employees cannot be punished for exercising their legal right to report workplace safety issues.

Alaska Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Alaska?

Alaska sets the minimum hourly wage requirement at $11.73 for both tipped and non-tipped occupations. This minimum wage is mandatory and increases with inflation, and must be at least $1 higher than the federal minimum wage. Tips are considered to be voluntary payments made by customers in recognition of the employees’ service. However, tips do not encompass mandatory amounts that are already included in the customer’s bill, such as minimum gratuity charges. There are exceptions to the minimum wage requirement in certain sectors or situations, such as school bus drivers who are typically entitled to a minimum wage that is twice the regular minimum wage. 

In Alaska, the wages and employment of minors are governed by the Alaska Wage and Hour Act. This law allows employers to pay minors a subminimum wage, with the lower limit set at $4.95 during their first 90 days of employment. However, in many cases, the wages for minors may be higher, ranging between $4.95 and $11.73, based on the type of work being performed. The only exception to this rule applies to minors with special hours permits, which allow them to work over 30 hours per week. In such cases, employers must pay these minors the regular state minimum wage. 

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Alaska?

Several exceptions to the standard for minimum hourly wages allow for a lower or higher minimum wage, depending on the type of work or industry. Here’s a comprehensive list of those exemptions:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Aquatic life caretakers
  • Domestic service workers in private homes
  • State or local government employees
  • Workers in non-profit organizations (religious, charitable, cemetery, educational, etc.)
  • Executive, professional, or administrative workers, as defined by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Youth under 18 working part-time or less than 30 hours per week
  • Motor vehicle dealer employees with specific duties related to service, repair, financing, and sales
  • Emergency medical services, fire department services, and ski patrol volunteers
  • University of Alaska students participating in a practicum under the student practicums immunity statute
  • Independent taxi drivers are compensated solely by customers
  • Watchmen or caretakers at closed premises for more than 4 months
  • Newspaper delivery workers
  • Hard rock material and placer searchers

What is the Payment Due Date in Alaska?

When it comes to receiving pay and benefits in Alaska, there are four crucial aspects to be aware of to ensure that employees are being paid fairly and accurately. The first is the type of payment that employees should accept which must be received in cash, checks, drafts, or money orders, with no deductions made by banks or other depositories. Secondly, the frequency of payment which depends on the agreement between the employer and employee, and employees can choose between monthly or semimonthly payments if not specified in the contract. Third is statements which refer to documents that detail earnings and deductions. Employers are required to provide these statements to employees after each pay period and must include specific information, such as gross and net wages, rate of pay, and hours worked, including overtime. Finally, employees must also take note of deductions considering that, in Alaska, employers may make certain deductions from employees’ wages, including those required by federal and state laws. Additionally, employers may make other deductions with written consent from employees, such as transportation costs or benefit contributions.

You can track employee time according to Alaska labor requirements using Jibble.  

What are Alaska Overtime Laws?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes the standard working week as seven consecutive days and a total of 40 hours within this period. Alaska adheres to this standard, meaning that overtime refers to any number of hours worked beyond 40 hours per week for full-time employees. The overtime rate is set at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay, which for minimum wage workers translates to $17.59 per hour. Additionally, employees who work more than 8 hours in a single day are entitled to overtime compensation, regardless of the total hours worked in a week. Despite this, there are several exemptions to these overtime regulations in Alaska, such as for small businesses with 4 or fewer employees. Exemptions vary based on factors such as the age of the employee, their occupational sector, and type of employment. 

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Alaska?

There are 4 main categories, commonly referred to as “White Collar” employees, who are exempt from overtime laws federally and in Alaska. These employees typically have a college education and must earn a minimum of $938.4 per week. They include: 

  • Executives who manage and supervise 2 or more employees in a salaried position, typically in business, general, and executive management.
  • Administrators who perform salaried, non-manual work related to business operations, management policies, or administrative training, such as financial officers, analysts, accountants, talent acquisition specialists, and budget analysts.
  • Professionals who hold salaried positions, requiring advanced knowledge and education, including artists, certified teachers, and skilled computer professionals such as architects, software developers, engineers, and lawyers.
  • Outside sales persons who make sales or take orders outside their employer’s workplace, typically in commission-based, salaried positions, such as sales representatives visiting clients on their premises.

Beyond these categories, the following groups are also exempt from receiving overtime pay:

  • Sailors
  • Agricultural workers
  • Forestry or lumber workers in companies with fewer than 12 employees
  • Employees involved in the handling, packing, storing, pasteurizing, drying, preparing, and canning of raw, natural, and agricultural commodities or in the production of cheese, butter, and other dairy products
  • Workers in small mining operations with fewer than 13 employees, provided they do not work more than 56 hours a week or 12 hours a day, and not longer than 14 workweeks in a calendar year
  • Employees of newspapers with a circulation of less than 1,000
  • Switchboard operators employed by public telephone exchanges with fewer than 750 stations
  • Public employees handling telegraphic, telephone, and radio messages who work under a contract and have agency revenue of less than $500 per month
  • Outside buyers of eggs, poultry, milk, and cream who visit different locations instead of working in a fixed establishment
  • Casual employees regulated by the Commission of Labor
  • Workers providing medical services
  • Employees under a Flexible Work Plan as part of a collective bargaining agreement
  • Workers under a Voluntary Flexible Work plan if both parties have signed an agreement, filed it with the Labor Department, and received a certificate of approval from the Labor Department (40 hours per week, 10 hours per day, or overtime rules apply)
  • Line haul truck drivers working routes exceeding 100 miles each way, with specific compensation requirements met
  • Community health aides employed by local and regional health organizations

It’s important to note that these exceptions are subject to change, and employers should always consult the latest regulations to ensure compliance with the law.

Learn more in detail about Alaska Salaried Employees Laws and Alaska Overtime Laws.

Alaska Time Off/Break Laws

What are Alaska Meal-Break Laws?

When it comes to the question of meal and coffee breaks in the workplace, Alaska state law provides some important guidelines. Unlike in some other states, Alaska employers are not legally required to offer these breaks to employees over 18. However, if an employer does choose to offer these breaks, it’s crucial to understand the two key aspects of the law. Firstly, if a break lasts 20 minutes or less, the employee must be paid for that time. This compensatory measure ensures that workers are not losing out on pay for short breaks taken during the workday. On the other hand, if an employer offers longer breaks, employees are considered to be relieved of their duties and not compensated for the duration of the break. In this scenario, the time spent on the break does not count towards the employee’s working hours.

In Alaska, exceptions to break laws apply specifically to minors in the workforce. Employers are mandated to offer a 30-minute meal break to children after every 5 hours of work. It’s worth noting that compensation is not necessary during the break period for these young employees.  

What are Alaska Breastfeeding Laws?

As a mother, balancing work and breastfeeding can be challenging. Fortunately, the state of Alaska follows the federal laws outlined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to protect breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. These laws require employers to grant reasonable breaks for lactating mothers and provide a private, non-bathroom space for breastfeeding. 

What are Alaska Leave Laws?

Taking a leave of absence from work can be stressful, especially when it comes to job security and compensation. In Alaska, there are specific regulations surrounding required and non-required leave. 

What is Alaska Required Leave?

Alaska offers a range of job-protected leaves for employees, ensuring that they can attend to important personal and civic responsibilities without fear of negative consequences at work. These include:

  • Family and Medical Leave – Employees who have worked for a company for at least one year and 1,250 hours are eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave in 12 months, per the Alaska Family Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Jury Duty Leave – If an employee is summoned for jury duty, they must be allowed to fulfill this obligation without facing any negative impact on their job. Employers are not required to compensate employees for this time off, but they cannot penalize them for taking it.
  • Voting Time Leave – Alaska law protects employees who need time off to vote. If there are at least two hours between their shift and the polling hours, they are not entitled to compensation. However, if there is less time, employers must provide paid time off.
  • Witness Leave – Employers must provide either paid or unpaid leave for employees who are summoned to serve as witnesses in court.
  • Military Leave – Employees who are members of the Alaska State Defense Force, Alaska Naval Militia, or Alaska National Guard are eligible for military leave if their services are required.

What is Alaska Non-Required Leave?

In Alaska, certain forms of leave are left to the discretion of the employer. Despite the lack of legal requirements to offer such leave, many businesses choose to provide some or all of these benefits to their employees as a part of their company policy. In such cases, the employer holds the authority to establish the terms and conditions of the leave, and they have the right to modify them as they see fit. Non-required leaves include:

  • Sick Leave – In Alaska, sick leave is not mandated at the state level.
  • Bereavement leave – Bereavement leave is not mandated by law, so employers are not legally obligated to provide it.
  • Vacation time – It is not mandatory for employers to offer their employees leave for vacation according to the law.
  • Holiday leave – Employers have no legal obligation to provide paid time off for holidays to their employees.

Here is a table of official US holidays:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Day after Thanksgiving Fourth Friday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Alaska Child Labor Laws?

In Alaska, the term “Child Labor Laws” encompasses regulations related to the employment of minors under the age of 18, with certain exceptions for those under 21 in industries involving alcohol, gambling, tobacco, and others. It’s crucial to note that the laws distinguish between minors and adults in terms of allowed occupations, the maximum number of hours worked per week, and break periods.

For instance, while the cannabis and marijuana industry is a legal sector of employment in Alaska, individuals under the age of 21 are not permitted to work in any of its branches. Similarly, in the tobacco industry, minors under 19 years old are prohibited from employment. Furthermore, minors under the age of 16 in the alcohol industry require a special license from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. As Alaska presents a unique set of circumstances regarding child labor, it’s essential to cover the laws in detail based on the specific age of the minors.  

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Alaska?

In Alaska, the employment of minors under the age of 14 is generally prohibited, with a few exceptions. These exceptions include babysitting and other domestic work in private homes, newspaper delivery and sales, and the entertainment industry, with an approved permit from the Alaska Age and Hour Administration.

Once minors reach the age of 14 in Alaska, the restrictions on their employment become less stringent. During school breaks, 14- and 15-year-olds are permitted to work up to 40 hours per week, as long as the hours fall between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. However, during the school year, weekly working hours are limited to 23 hours with the same restrictions on the hours worked.

It’s important to note that the laws regarding the employment of 14- and 15-year-olds in Alaska vary based on whether a school is in session. The state seeks to balance the desire for minors to earn money and gain experience with the need to ensure they have sufficient time to focus on their education and well-being.   

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Alaska?

In Alaska, certain types of employment are off-limits for minors aged 14 and 15 due to their hazardous nature. These industries and job tasks include:

  • Manufacturing, mining, and processing
  • Operating power-driven machinery, excluding office machinery
  • Construction work, excluding office work and repair/demolition
  • Messenger services
  • Working in or around canneries, excluding office work
  • Engine room, boiler, and retort work
  • Maintenance/repair of establishment machinery and equipment
  • Working from ladders, scaffolding, windowsills, or similar structures
  • Handling power-driven food slicers, choppers, cutters, grinders, and bakery-type mixers
  • Work in meat coolers and freezers, and meat preparation for sale
  • Loading/unloading trucks, conveyors, and railroad cars
  • Warehousing and storage work, excluding office work
  • Using sharpened tools
  • Transportation of people and property, excluding office and sales work

Certain professions and industries are also prohibited to those under the age of 17 as they are deemed unsafe. These include:

  • Handling or use of explosives
  • Operation of motor vehicles
  • Mining, including coal mining
  • Logging or operation of sawmills, lathe mills, shingle mills, and cooperage
  • Power-driven machinery operation in woodworking
  • Exposure to radioactive substances and ionizing radiation
  • Operation of elevators and other power-driven hoisting apparatus
  • Power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machines
  • Slaughtering, meat processing, packing, and rendering
  • Operation and cleaning of power-driven paper product machinery
  • Manufacturing of bricks, tiles, and related products
  • Operation and cleaning of circular saws, guillotine shears, and band saws
  • Wrecking, shipwrecking, and demolition
  • Roofing operations
  • Excavation operations
  • Electrical work with voltages exceeding 220, outside of erection, repair, and meter testing, including telephone lines and telegraph
  • Exposure to blood-borne pathogens
  • Canvassing, solicitation, and door-to-door contributions, as well as acting as outside salespeople

Here’s the form to apply for a minor’s employment permit.  

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.