Salaried employees in Alaska refer to individuals who receive predetermined fixed compensation on a regular basis, such as weekly or less frequently.
The state has implemented specific laws and regulations that outline the rights and obligations of salaried employees and their employers.
This article provides an overview of these laws, including details about payment methods, break and leave entitlements, and the distinction between exempt and non-exempt employees.
This article covers:
- Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in Alaska
- Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime for Alaska
- Pay for Working Overtime for Alaska Salaried Employees
- Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for Alaska Salaried Employees
- Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment in Alaska
- Male and Female Salaried Employees in Alaska
- Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Alaska
- Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Alaska
- Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salary in Alaska
- Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in Alaska
When addressing compensation and benefits in Alaska, there are four essential factors to bear in mind to ensure equitable and accurate payment for employees. Initially, employees should receive payment in cash, checks, drafts, or money orders, free from any bank-related deductions. Secondly, payment frequency hinges on mutual arrangements, permitting employees to choose between monthly or semi-monthly payments when not stipulated in contracts. Thirdly, pay statements, outlining earnings and deductions, must be furnished by employers to employees after each pay period. These statements should encompass critical data, including gross and net wages, hourly rates, hours worked (including overtime), and other necessary details. Finally, attention should be given to deductions, as Alaska permits specific wage deductions in compliance with federal and state laws. Employers can also make supplementary deductions with written employee consent, such as transportation expenses or benefit contributions. Frequently, employers may need to establish payment schedules and obtain approvals from their employees, ensuring that these processes are adhered to correctly.
Irrespective of the payment structure – whether hourly, commission-based, piece-rate, or any other method – all employees have the right to Alaska’s overtime, unless an exemption applies.
Receiving a salary doesn’t automatically exclude an employee from overtime entitlement. Specific criteria need to be met for certain exemptions like executive, administrative, and professional roles. The job responsibilities, duties, and payment structure are typically factors that determine the employee’s eligibility for overtime pay.
Tracking work hours can be crucial for accurately calculating the overtime rate of salaried employees. To calculate overtime for salaried employees, their regular rate has to be determined first. To get the regular rate, the salary has to be divided by the intended hours.
If regular hours are below 40: Include regular rate for each hour up to 40, then provide time and a half for hours beyond 40.
If regular hours are 40: Pay time and a half for hours exceeding 40.
While these calculations might appear complex, contemporary employers can simplify and streamline them by using a timesheet app, monitoring time and attendance, or even employing overtime compliance software.
There are four primary categories, commonly termed “White Collar” employees, that are exempt from both federal and Alaska overtime laws. These employees usually possess a college education and must earn a minimum of $684 weekly. These categories encompass:
- Executives: Individuals managing and supervising two or more employees in salaried positions, typically in business, general, or executive management.
- Administrators: Employees engaged in non-manual, salaried work related to business operations, management policies, or administrative training, such as financial officers, analysts, and accountants.
- Professionals: Salaried positions demanding advanced knowledge and education, including artists, certified teachers, and skilled computer professionals like architects and engineers.
- Outside Salespersons: Individuals making sales or taking orders outside their employer’s workplace in commission-based roles.
Additionally, other groups exempt from overtime pay include sailors, agricultural workers, forestry or lumber workers in small companies, employees handling raw commodities, workers in small mining operations, newspaper employees in circulation below 1,000, and more. These exemptions are subject to change, and employers must stay current with regulations for compliance.
Learn more in detail about Alaska Overtime Laws.
When an employer doesn’t make timely payments, they might need to compensate the employee with a penalty. This penalty could be the employee’s regular wage, salary, or compensation from the demand time until the payment is made, or for a maximum of 90 working days – whichever is lower.
In cases where the department takes legal action, an employer found responsible for delayed wage payments must pay a penalty. This penalty is determined using the employee’s straight-time rate for an eight-hour workday.
According to the Employment Discrimination Act (Alaska Stat. Ann. § 18.80.220(a)(5)), it is prohibited for employers to engage in wage discrimination based on sex. This means they cannot pay women less than men for comparable or similar work within the same location.
Salaried employees in Alaska have specific leave provisions to consider. Under the Alaska Family Leave Act, those 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 for family and medical reasons. Employees summoned for jury duty are protected by law and cannot face repercussions for fulfilling this civic duty, though compensation is at the employer’s discretion. Employees needing time off to vote must receive time either paid or unpaid, depending on polling hours relative to their shift. For court appearances as witnesses, employers must grant paid or unpaid leave. Military leave is also available for members of specific state defense forces, naval militia, or the National Guard if their services are needed.
Alaska’s state law provides important guidance regarding meal and coffee breaks in workplaces. Unlike some other states, Alaska doesn’t legally mandate employers to provide these breaks to employees over 18. However, if offered, it’s crucial to understand two key aspects of the law. Firstly, if a break lasts for 20 minutes or less, the employee must be paid for that time to ensure they are fairly compensated for short breaks. Conversely, if longer breaks are given, employees are considered off-duty and not compensated for that break’s duration, and this time isn’t counted towards their working hours.
Exceptions to these break laws apply in Alaska, particularly concerning minors in the workforce. Employers are required to provide a 30-minute meal break to young employees after every 5 hours of work. It’s important to note that these young employees are not entitled to compensation during this break period.
Legitimate deductions must be made in Alaska, like taxes or court-ordered obligations such as child support or garnishments.
If the employer has provided the employee with a loan and the employee has given written consent, they can deduct the amount from your earnings. Further, should the employee owe money to a third party, they can authorize their employer to deduct payments from their earnings.
Only if an employee willingly and in writing admitted to taking specific cash or property that’s alleged as lost, missing, or stolen, can deductions be made for cash or cash register discrepancies, or lost items.
A broad authorization at the start of employment to cover future deductions is not considered valid. Deductions should not push the employee’s gross pay below minimum wage or infringe on overtime. Hence, it’s crucial to calculate deductions and breaks to prevent incurring penalties.
Alaska adheres to the widely recognized “employment-at-will” principle, granting both employers and employees the freedom to terminate employment at any time and for any reason. Despite this flexibility, safeguards are established to prevent discriminatory or wrongful termination. Dismissing employees due to protected reasons such as military service leave, jury duty, voting, family and medical leave, or reporting safety concerns is deemed illegal. Wrongful termination, encompassing breaches of contract and retaliation against employees for exercising their rights, is also prohibited. This policy maintains equilibrium between employer and employee rights while upholding ethical standards.
For those facing wrongful termination in Alaska, seeking resolution can involve engaging the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development for insight into legal recourse.
Navigating organizational departures involves comprehending distinct guidelines for retirements, lay-offs, dismissals, and resignations in Alaska. Among crucial exit considerations are references and final pay. The law mandates that employers provide job references in good faith, safeguarded by qualified immunity. However, bad faith instances, such as intentional falsehoods or disclosures violating employees’ federal civil rights, can be legally actionable. Concerning final pay, resigning employees should receive it on the next regular payday, at least three days after notice. If terminated or laid off, the final paycheck must be given within three business days of termination. Understanding these regulations streamlines the transition process.
Learn more about Alaska Labor Laws through our detailed guide.
Important Cautionary Note
When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.