It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Alaska statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher.
However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality.
It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns.
Here are a few Alaska labor laws every small business owner should know.
First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:
- Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce
- Alaska DOL Employer Page
- Alaska Mandatory Workplace Posters
- Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
- Medical Leave: Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
- Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
- Employers must pay employees for any accrued and unused vacation days upon separation of employment if its contract or policy provides for such payment.
- Jury Duty: Employers are not required to pay employees for time spent responding to a jury summons, but employees may not be penalized for doing so.
- Holiday Leave: Private employees are not required to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave.
- Voting Leave: Employers are required to provide paid time off for employees to vote unless there are two hours between the opening of the polls and the beginning of the employee’s shift, or two hours between the end of the employee’s shift and the closing of the polls.
- Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide employee bereavement leave.
- Employees who are fired or laid off must be paid all due wages within 3 working days.
- Employees who quit, resign due to a labor dispute, or are suspended must be paid by the next regular payday.
- The current minimum wage in Alaska is $9.89.
- The minimum wage has been set to increase with inflation each year, and will always be at least $1 more than the federal minimum wage.
- Public school bus drivers must be paid at least two times the current minimum wage.
- Employers are not allowed to pay tipped employees a reduced minimum wage rate. They must be paid the standard minimum wage.
- Employers are prohibited from handling an employee’s tipped wages unless they are delivering the cash amount of a tip left for an employee via a credit card or redistributing tips based on a lawful tip pooling arrangement.
- Minors 14 and 15 years of age are subject to the following time restrictions:
- When school is in session
- A total of 9 hours of school and work combined in 1 day
- A total of 23 hours per week outside of school hours
- 6 days a week
- When school is not in session
- 8 hours a day
- 40 hours a week
- 6 days a week
- Between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m., regardless of whether school is in session or not.
- When school is in session
- Minors 16 and 17 years of age are not allowed to work more than 6 days a week.
Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime
- Employers must pay non-exempt employees an overtime rate of 1 ½ times the regular rate when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek or 8 hours in a day.
- Employers must provide minor employees with a 30-minute break if they work more than 5 consecutive hours.
- The break must occur after the first hour and a half and before the beginning of the last hour of the shift.
- Employers are not required to provide breaks to employees 16 years of age or older.
- If they choose to do so, employers do not have to pay for breaks longer than 20 minutes as long as the employee is free to do as they wish.
- The Alaska Human Rights Law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, and physical or mental disability. And, in some instances, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of age, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood. A separate law, along with the Human Rights Law, prohibits discrimination on the basis of mental illness.
- Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.
Alaska is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.
There are no laws regarding shift scheduling in Alaska.