Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Alaska
Under Alaska law, employers must pay employees at a rate of one and one-half the employee’s straight-time wage for working more than eight hours per day or 40 straight-time hours per week. Employers cannot give an employee “comp time” instead of overtime pay. Exempt employees include:
- An employee of an employer who has less than four employees
- Employees in agricultural or horticultural commodities, including those who handle, pack, store, pasteurize, dry, or prepare products in their raw or natural state; those who are involved in the canning of such products; or those who make cheese, butter, or other dairy products
- Employees of small mining operations (less than 13 employees), as long as the individual is not employed more than 12 hours a day or 56 hours a week during a period of not more than 14 work weeks per year
- Agriculture workers
- Lumber and forestry operations with less than 13 employees, including individuals who plant or tend trees; cruise, survey, buck, or fell timber; or prepare or transport forestry products (such as logs) to the mill, processing plant, railroad, or other transportation terminal
- Outside buyers of poultry, eggs, cream or milk in their raw or natural state
- Hospital employees who provide medical services
- Employees who have a Flexible Work Hour Plan as part of a collective bargaining agreement
- Work performed by an employee under a Voluntary Flexible Work Hour Plan if:
- The employee and the employer have signed a written agreement and the written agreement has been filed with the Labor Department; and
- The Labor Department has issued a certificate approving the plan which states the work is for 40 hours a week and not more than 10 hours a day; for work over 40 hours a week or 10 hours a day under a Flexible Work Hour Plan not included as part of a collective bargaining agreement, overtime compensation at the rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay
- Some line haul truck drivers for trips exceeding 100 road miles
- An individual employed as a “community health aide” by a local or regional health organization
- Some mechanics who are primarily engaged in the servicing of automobiles, light trucks, and motor homes
Effective January 1, 2020, Alaska’s minimum wage is $10.19 per hour. The minimum wage is adjusted based on the consumer price index at the beginning of every year. By law, Alaska’s minimum wage will always be at least one dollar higher than the federal minimum wage. On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $10.34 per hour.
Employers cannot use tips to reduce the minimum wage. If an employee agrees voluntarily in writing, however, an employer can decrease the minimum wage by the cost of meals and lodging even if the employee’s net pay is below the minimum wage. School bus drivers working for private contractors must be paid twice the minimum wage
- Handicapped persons (Departmental application/approval is required);
- Student learners (Departmental application/approval is required);
- Agricultural employees
- Aquatic employees
- Employees who hand-pick shrimp
- Employees in domestic service (including babysitters) in or about a private home
- Any individual employed by the United States, state, or local government
- Any individual engaged in the activities of a nonprofit religious, charitable, cemetery, or educational organization where the services are on a voluntary basis
- Newspaper delivery persons who deliver to consumers
- Individuals employed solely as watchmen or caretakers on premises, property or plants not in operation for four months or more
- Bona fide executive, professional, or administrative employees; outside salespersons, or any salesperson working on a straight commission basis
- Employees who search for placer or hard rock minerals
- Part-time workers under 18 years old employed for 30 hours or less per week
- Employment by a nonprofit educational or child care facility to serve as a parent of children while the children are in residence at the facility 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 less than:
- $10,000.00 for an unmarried person; or
- $15,000.00 for a married couple
- Independent cab drivers who establishes the driving area and hours, who contract on a flat rate basis for the use of the cab, cab permit or dispatch service, and who are compensated solely by the customers served
- Individuals who volunteer to provide emergency medical services; volunteer to serve with a full-time fire department; or volunteer to provide ski patrol services
- Some employees of motor vehicle dealers
Under Alaska law, there are no meal or break requirements for employees over the age of 18. If an employer allows breaks, employees must be paid for the break if it is less than 20 minutes; however, employers are not required to pay employees for meal breaks which last longer than 20 minutes. Any minor, age 14-17, who works more than 6 hours consecutively must be given a 30-minute unpaid meal break. Further, If the employee is a minor and works five or more consecutive hours, employers must provide a 30-minute rest break.
You can file a wage complaint with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD). Information about how to file a claim is located in the DLWD website.
If you have a wage/hour claim, do not delay in contacting the DLWD to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which wage claims must be filed. In order for the agency to act on your behalf for violations of overtime and minimum wage laws, you must file with the DLWD within two years from the date that the work was actually performed. Claims for straight-time wages or other promised benefits are subject to a three-year deadline.
As you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. Yet if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the DLWD.
If you have contacted the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) for file a claim and the DLWD believes there is enough evidence to support your claim then the case may be filed in court. If the wages and penalties you believed to be owed to you are less than $20,000, the case may be filed in Small Claims Court. You must be willing to appear and testify in a Department meeting or in court.
In Alaska, employees can file a private lawsuit to recover unpaid back wages, liquidated damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.
1251 muldoon Road, Suite 113
Anchorage, AK 99504
Ph: (907) 269-4900
Regional State Office Building
675 7th Avenue, Station J
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Ph: (907) 451-2886
1111 W. 8th Street, Rm 302
P.O. Box 111149
Juneau, AK 99811
Ph: (907) 465-4842