Minimum wage increase
Sun Star Copy Editor
On Feb. 24, the minimum wage in Alaska was increased from $7.75 per hour to $8.75. Ballot Measure 3 was approved on Nov. 4, 2014 with 194,654 yes votes and 86,040 no votes. It stated that the minimum wage would be increased to $8.75 on Jan. 1, but it was delayed to Feb. 24 because Alaska state laws state that ballot initiatives cannot go into effect until 90 days after an election is certified. On Jan. 1, 2016, the minimum wage will increase once more to $9.75. After the increase in 2016, the minimum wage is planned to be adjusted based on on inflation or to remain $1 higher than the federal minimum wage, whichever amount is greater.
Alaska is the first state to have a minimum wage that is higher than that set at the federal level. The last time the minimum wage was increased was in 2009 when it changed from $7.15 to $7.25 due to the federal minimum wage increasing. At the time, Alaska legislature had voted that Alaska’s minimum wage should be $.50 above the federal minimum wage.
In 2002, legislature raised the minimum wage from $5.65 to $7.15, which also included a provision that made all future increases account for annual cost-of-living adjustment, but was repealed in 2003. If the provision hadn’t been removed, Alaska’s minimum wage would have been $9.53 in 2014.
Approximately 28,000 jobs in Alaska paid $9.75 or less.