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Minimum Wage in Alaska in 2023

Last Updated on:

11 January 2023
Minimum Wage in Alaska

Minimum wage rules aim to prevent employers from underpaying or exploiting employees. The aim is to ensure that workers are not forced into poverty and can afford to live well. It helps safeguard workers, especially those who are at the margins of society.

In 2014, Alaska voters approved a measure that mandates annual increases in the state's minimum wage to keep up with inflation. 

Interestingly, the state minimum pay is slated to be at least $1 more than the federal minimum wage, which has been growing automatically with inflation. For instance, the minimum wage in Alaska was increased from $10.34 to $10.85 in January 2023.

What is the Minimum Wage in Alaska?

In accordance with the Wage and Hour Act, the minimum wage in Alaska is $10.85 per hour as of January 1, 2023. This applies to all workers in the state except for some exempted categories, such as those who received tips in the line of their duty.

To put it simply, tips are defined as monetary compensation given to service providers by satisfied clients as an expression of gratitude for the quality of their work.

Subminimum Wage

The subminimum wage is defined as the authorization of employment at a lower wage than the minimum wage to enable firms to hire particular sorts of workers who might not otherwise be hired, according to the U.S. Department of Labor

In Alaska, employees of some categories are entitled to a subminimum wage. For Instance:

  • Alaska's minimum wage laws permit employers to pay employees with disabilities a lower minimum wage.
  • Employers in Alaska are entitled to pay apprentices a wage lower than the state's regular minimum wage rate provided that the commissioner approves the request from the employer to do so. 
  • Employers are not permitted to pay trainees less than the regular minimum wage in Alaska unless one of the other subminimum wage exceptions applies.
  • Employers in Alaska are permitted to pay their student workers a lower minimum wage which should be no less than 75% of the state's minimum wage.

Alaska Weekly Minimum Wage

Based on Alaska's state minimum wage rate of $10.85 per hour, in 2023 the weekly wage of an employee working minimum wage will be $434.60 for a 40-hour workweek.

Alaska Overtime Minimum Wage

In Alaska, the minimum wage for overtime is 1.5 times the usual wage. Businesses in Alaska with four or more employees must pay overtime. For specific groups of individuals and companies, there are several exemptions from the overtime rule.

For overtime hours worked, a worker earning the minimum wage in Alaska would be paid $16.28. When an employee works more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours per week, overtime pay is necessary. 

Add the number of hours over eight per day or forty per week to determine the amount of overtime pay. For instance, if a worker makes the minimum wage of $10.34 and puts in 10 hours of extra work, they would receive $162.80 in overtime compensation in overtime compensation on top of their regular wage for 40 hours of work. 

How is Alaska Minimum Wage Different from the Federal Minimum Wage?

Alaska's minimum wage of $10.85 per hour in 2023 is significantly higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

The Alaskan minimum pay has been higher than the federal minimum wage ever since the state's first legislature, in 1959, approved a statute setting the state minimum wage at $1.50 per hour, $0.50 higher than what was needed under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

In fact, the state of Alaska mandates that its minimum wage be at least $1 more than the federal minimum wage. 

Who Qualifies for Minimum Wage?

Employers in the state of Alaska are required by state law to pay each employee $10.34 an hour unless their position is exempt from the minimum wage category.

Minimum Wage Exemptions 

The Alaskan state minimum wage is not mandatory for all workers. Persons engaged in the following occupations are exempt from the Alaska Wage and Hour Act:

  • Student learners. However, employers must apply for and receive departmental approval to pay them less than the minimum wage.
  • Any person working as a domestic worker in or around a private home, including babysitters. 
  • Each and every person who works in agriculture, every person who works in the aquatic sector, and people who pick shrimp by hand. 
  • Any person who works for the federal, state, or local governments (i.e., Political Subdivision).
  • Anyone delivering newspapers to customers.
  • Anyone working only as a watchman or caretaker on buildings, properties, or plants that have been idle for at least four months
  • Any person who works to find placer or hard rock minerals.
  • Any person under the age of 18 who works part-time for no more than 30 hours a week.
  • Employed by a nonprofit educational or childcare facility to act as a parent to a child while the child is residing there, provided that the employment requires living there and is paid on a cash basis exclusive of room and board at a rate that is less than $10,000.00 for an unmarried individual or $15,000.00 for a married couple.
  • Anyone with an open position in an executive, professional, or administrative capacity, as those terms are used in the Fair Labour Standard Act(FLSA) or the rules issued under those sections, or who gets paid entirely through commission and works in a field setting.
  • Any person working as a software engineer, computer programmer, computer systems analyst, or another position requiring a skill set similar to these.
  • Students taking part in a practicum at the University of Alaska as defined in AS 14.40.065 of the Alaska Statutes Title 14
  • Anyone who has been issued a license in accordance with AS 08.54 of the Alaska Statutes Title 8 and who works for a registered guide or master guide who has been issued a license according to AS 08.54 during the first 60 workdays of the calendar year in which the registered guide or master guide employs them.
  • Any independent cab driver who determines the operating area and hours, who contracts for the use of the cab, the cab permit, or the dispatch service on a flat rate basis, and who is paid only by the passengers they serve.
  • Any person who does voluntary emergency medical services performs voluntary full-time fire department service or performs voluntary ski patrol services.
  • Any employee of a motor vehicle dealer whose primary responsibility is to solicit, sell, lease, or exchange motor vehicles; receive, analyze, or reference requests for service, repair, or analysis of motor vehicles; arrange to finance for the purchase of motor vehicles and related goods and services that are added to or included with the purchase, or do any of those mentioned above.

Historical Change of Minimum Wage in Alaska

The minimum wage in Alaska has seen drastic changes in the last 30 years. 

Anchorage CPI-U, which measures changes in prices paid by urban consumers in the Anchorage area, determines the annual adjustments. 

The entire trajectory of historical changes to Alaska's minimum wage has been detailed in the chart below. 

Effective Date

Minimum Wage

01/01/2023

$10.85

01/01/2022

$10.34

01/01/2021

$10.34

01/01/2020

$10.19

01/01/2019

$9.89

01/01/2018

$9.84

01/01/2017

$9.80

01/01/2016

$9.75


01/01/2015

$8.75

01/01/2010

$7.75

07/24/2009

$7.25

01/01/2003

$7.15

09/01/1997

$5.65

10/01/1996 - 08/31/1997

$5.25

04/01/1991 - 09/30/1996

$4.75

FAQ

1. Can an employee file suit if he is not paid Minimum Wage in Alaska?

Employees can submit a wage complaint with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development if they believe their employer has paid them less than the Alaska minimum wage. 

If an employee is not paid at least the state-mandated minimum wage, their employer may have to pay them to double that amount in liquidated damages. The employee who is filing suit might request a judgment from the court for the amount that is due to them. 

If the court decides in the plaintiff's favor, they may also be entitled to reimbursement of their reasonable legal expenses.

2. Do even Low-Volume Enterprises have to pay the bare minimum in Alaska?

Yes, the Alaska state minimum wage must be paid by all enterprises.  Regardless of size, the minimum wage will be $10.85 in 2023. The rate is revised every year in accordance with changes in the Anchorage metropolitan area Consumer Price Index.

3. What is the Federal Minimum Wage?

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, $3.6 less than Alaska's minimum wage. Businesses in Alaska must use $10.85 instead of the $7.25 minimum wage because they must pay nonexempt workers the higher of the federal and state minimum wages.

4. How many hours is a minor permitted to work in Alaska?

Alaska's Child Labor Law limits how many hours kids between the ages of 14 and 15 may work each day. When school is in session, a child may not work more than nine hours per day while also attending school. Newspaper delivery, domestic work, and home-based childcare and crafts are exempt from the nine-hour restriction.

These youngsters are only permitted to work up to 23 hours a week. Minors aged 14 and 15 on summer break are allowed to work a maximum of eight hours per day (40 hours per week) during this time.


Josh Evan

Written by:

Josh Evan

Josh Evan is the professional career counselor and career development writer at When Work Works. He loves to see people from this field succeed through initiating the right thing in the right way. He never tells; he shows the way. We appointed John not because of his impressive CV. It was his counseling charisma which stood out of everything. He can implant idea, confidence and productive thoughts into mind almost effortlessly. His pen and mouth both speak for the greater good.


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