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Alaska Labor Laws Breaks

Alaska Labor Laws Breaks

Alaska Labor Laws: The Importance of Breaks in the Workplace

Alaska labor laws mandate that employers provide their employees with several mandatory breaks throughout their workday. These breaks are designed to allow employees to rest, refresh, and recharge, which ultimately leads to an increase in productivity and job satisfaction. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these legal mandates and explore why they are critical.

Mandatory Breaks in Alaska

Employers in Alaska are required to provide their employees with certain break periods throughout the workday, including:

Meal Breaks: For every six hours of work, employees are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid break. However, they must be relieved of all job duties during this time. If an employee is required to work during their meal break, the employer must pay them for their time. This law applies to employees 18 years of age or older.

Rest Breaks: Employees who work an eight-hour shift are entitled to a paid ten-minute break. Similarly, if employees are working more than four hours in a day, but less than eight hours, they are entitled to a paid ten-minute break.

Nursing Breaks: Employees who are breastfeeding are entitled to a reasonable amount of break time to express milk. Employers must provide a private and secure location, other than a toilet stall, for such breaks.

Why Breaks are Essential in the Workplace

Breaks in the workplace are critical to an employee’s productivity and well-being. Here are some reasons why:

Physical Benefits: Taking breaks during the workday can help prevent physical injuries caused by poor posture and repetitive use of certain muscles. Employees who engage in physical work, or who sit for prolonged periods, can benefit from stretching and moving around during their breaks.

Mental Benefits: Breaks provide an opportunity for employees to recharge and replenish their energy levels. This ultimately results in improved alertness, focus, and productivity. Additionally, employees who take regular breaks experience less stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

Socialization: Breaks provide an opportunity for employees to interact with their colleagues, build social relationships, and foster a sense of community within the workplace. This can lead to a more positive and collaborative work environment.

Legal Implications

Alaska employers who fail to provide their employees with the mandatory break time can face fines and legal action. Furthermore, employees who are not receiving break periods can suffer from burnout, which can lead to a decrease in their productivity and overall job performance.

Updating Alaska Labor Laws

In 2019, Alaska labor laws were updated to reflect the changing needs of employees in the state. House Bill 115 increased the minimum wage and provided several other labor law updates. It also proposed longer meal breaks for employees working in certain occupations.

However, employers are still responsible for complying with the current labor laws when it comes to providing their employees with break periods. If employers violate these laws, they can face lawsuits and other legal fines.


Breaks are essential to workplace productivity, employee health, and safety. Alaska labor laws mandate that employers provide their employees with certain break periods, including meal, rest, and nursing breaks. Each break period must provide ample time for employees to rest, recharge, and periodically check their physical and mental well-being.

Employers can uphold these laws and ensure that their employees receive the break time they require by providing clear break-time policies, monitoring employees’ break times, and ensuring that break periods are uninterrupted. By supporting their employees’ health and safety, employers will ultimately create a positive workplace environment that leads to improved productivity and job satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions about Alaska Labor Laws for Breaks

What are the Alaska labor laws for breaks?

There are a few Alaska labor laws for breaks, but on the whole they are perhaps less stringent than you might expect. The strongest one, and the only part of Alaska labor laws for breaks that actually guarantees breaks, only affects minors aged 14 to 17. These minors are required by law to have one thirty minute break for every five consecutive hours of work. However, once an employee turns 18, their employer is no longer obligated to proved them with a break.

Of course, most employers do inevitably provide their works with meal breaks. Taking such action is usually in an employer’s own benefit. If meal breaks are a desired commodity from workers, then providing one is an added perk that will attract a better quality of workers and therefore a better quality of work. Similarly, better quality work can result from a mandatory meal break since satisfied workers are usually able to better concentrate than those who are distracted by their stomach’s rumblings.

At the same time, there could be some distinct problems with Alaska labor laws for breaks if they made meal breaks mandatory for everyone. They’d do away with an individual’s freedom to skip lunch, if they so choose, in order to leave work earlier and instead spend their meals with their loved ones. The only people who lose out with the current system are those whose employers refuse them a meal break, despite the added benefits that a meal break could offer their business.

Are there any other Alaska labor laws for breaks?

Yes, there is one other section of Alaska labor laws for breaks, which states that in the event of a short break, one that is twenty minutes or less, the employer must compensate their employee for their time. However, these short breaks are entirely optional, as there is no law mandating breaks of any kind for employees 18 and over.

Does an employer have to compensate their employee for a meal break?

No, an employer does not have to compensate their employees for meal breaks.

What about breaks for nursing mothers?

While it isn’t a part of the Alaska labor laws for breaks since it is federal, there is a mandate for employers to provide nursing mothers with breaks which is part of the recent healthcare reforms that were passed in 2010. The law requires an employer to provide a break for a nursing mother every four hours, and the breaks may last for up to thirty minutes. The employer must also provide a private space for the mother to nurse. While this space cannot be merely a bathroom, it can be a break room or an office that has been repurposed for the mother’s use and where her privacy is assured.

Exceptions to the nursing rule are businesses that have fewer than fifty employees and children that are more than one year-old.