Regulations governing topics such as how long employees spend working and what they are paid for that time falls under wage and hour laws. These laws relate to overtime, tips, meal and rest breaks, what constitutes time worked, what employers must pay for, minimum wage rates, etc. Because it is essential for employers to remain in full compliance, understanding wage and hour laws is highly important.
Minimum Wage in Alaska
Alaska employees are entitled to a minimum wage of $9.75 per hour. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour. When there is a disparity between the state and federal minimum wage, workers must receive the higher rate.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Employers in Alaska are not permitted to utilize tip credits when it comes to workers earning gratuities. Accordingly, tipped workers receive the standard minimum wage. Tip pooling is allowed, which entails sharing earned tips among all tipped employees. Federal law does allow for tip credits to be used, which means tipped workers can earn $2.13 per hour (provided that tips and direct wages combined equals the standard federal minimum wage).
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: In general, most Alaska employers are beholden to minimum wage laws. The FLSA dictates that enterprises with two or more employees that earn at least $500,000 in sales or business annually must adhere to minimum wage regulations. Exemptions do exist, and these include commissioned sales employees, workers at recreational or seasonal establishments, those employed by motor carriers, etc. Refer to the United States Department of Labor for a complete list of exemptions.
When are Raises Required: Alaska law does not require employers to provide employees with raises. Federal law is also without regulations to this end, and generally raises are based on an agreement made between employers and employees.
Work Hours in Alaska
Both Alaska state and federal law fail to put limitations on the amount of hours one can work in a day or week. According to the FLSA, employees 16 and older are able to work as many hours as they see fit over a given period of time.
Paying Overtime: Alaska workers exceeding eight hours in a work day and/or 40 hours in a work week must be paid one and one-half times their normal wage (which is also stipulated by federal law). Some professions are exempt from receiving overtime pay, including agricultural workers, domestic servants, executives, etc. Some smaller businesses are also exempt, such as those with less than four employees.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Employees 18 and over in Alaska do not receive guaranteed breaks for rest or meals. However, minor employees (aged 14 to 17) must receive 30-minute breaks when working five or more hours consecutively. Employers that offer shorter breaks of up to 20 minutes must pay employees during that time, according to Alaska law. On the federal level, employees are not guaranteed breaks, with the exception of nursing mothers who must be allowed to express milk as needed.
Paid Time-off and Sick Pay: There are no federal or Alaska state regulations that entitle employees to paid time-off and sick pay. However, Alaska employers that have promised employees paid time-off, such as vacations, or sick pay must honor these promises.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: As an at-will employment state, employers in Alaska are not required to give prior notice in the event an employee is terminated. Additionally, the FLSA does not mandate prior notices in cases of employee termination or layoff.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: Because Alaska is without laws specifying notice periods for plant closings and mass layoffs, employers with 100 or more full-time employees must follow the federally mandated Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. Any closing or mass layoff that affects 50 or more employees being let go at a single site must be preceded with at least 60 days’ written notice.RESOURCES:
- Â http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/fact_sheets.htm
- Â http://labor.alaska.gov/lss/whact.htm
- Â http://labor.alaska.gov/lss/forms/employee_faq.pdf
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