Wage increase kicks In January 1

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In 2014 Alaskans voted for one-dollar increases to go into effect in 2015 and 2016. The first, raised it from $7.75 per hour, to $8.75. The second, to $9.75 an hour goes into effect January 1, 2016.

Joe Dunham is statewide supervising investigator of wage and hour administration at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Affected jobs include some in fish processing, fast food, and home health care, he said.

According to Dunham, the change also affects workers paid by how much they produce instead of an hourly rate.

“For example, if a sheet rock hanger gets 20 cents square foot, he still has to be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked in the pay period,” he said. “So if he has a bad day or week or a pay period where he’s running out of supplies and, y’know, not really hanging a lot of sheet rock, all hours worked times the minimum wage is the least his paycheck can be. So it actually applies to all employees.”

Durham said the change also affects employees who are exempt from overtime pay requirements:

For example, a manager being paid on a salary basis. The minimum salary is twice the current minimum wage based on a 40-hour work week. So $9.75 times two  times 40 is $780 a week minimum being paid on a salary basis. So it affects a whole lot more than just the industry paid by the hour.

Durham said some employers try to get around paying a salaried person working a 40-hour work-week the annual minimum of $20,280 required by law.