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Alaska Legislative Round-Up: Employment-Related Bills Introduced in the 2017-2018 Session

Would impact Alaska's employers if enacted


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March 9, 2017 

Although Alaska’s 30th Legislative Session is once again primarily focused on addressing our state’s current budget deficit, several bills have been proposed that, if enacted into law, would impact Alaska’s employers. Some of these proposed bills would simply formalize certain practices that many employers already follow. Nevertheless, we wanted to ensure you were aware of them.

For your reference, a short summary of the bills that we believe are relevant to most Alaska employers is provided below.

 

HB2: Private Employer Voluntary Veteran Preference
View Bill | Track Status

Proposed new chapter to AS 23 that would allow private employers to grant an employment preference to a veteran when hiring an employee. “Veteran” is defined to include a person honorably discharged from Alaska National Guard as well as all Armed Forces of the U.S.

 

HB3: National Guard Leave/Reemployment Rights
View Bill | Track Status

Proposed amendment to AS 26.05.075 to clarify that members of National Guards in other states are entitled to leaves of absences and re-employment upon return from active service.

 

HB26: Nursing Mothers in Workplace
View Bill | Track Status

Proposed new section to AS 23.10 that would require employers to provide “reasonable” unpaid break time during the work day to an employee who is a nursing mother so that the employee may breastfeed or express breast milk and provide a private and sanitary space (not a toilet stall) for it to occur.

 

HB30: Paid Sick Leave
View Bill | Track Status

Proposed new section to AS 23.10 that would require employers to provide employees residing in Alaska at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours the employee works. Employer is defined as “a person, other than a federal, state or municipal government, who employs any combination of 15 or more full-time, part-time and temporary employees…” Certain existing employer provided PTO would meet the requirement.

 

HB45: Equal Pay & Minimum Wage Act
View Bill | Track Status 

Proposed new sections to AS.18.80 and AS 23 that would require Labor & Workforce Development to work with the Human Rights Commission to prepare an annual report on equal pay practices within the state and would set minimum wage at a “living wage” of $15 per hour effective January 1, 2018.

 

We will continue to monitor these proposed bills and if any are enacted into law, we will send out another client alert.  In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how these proposed bills would impact your business operations or if there is anything else we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Renea Saade is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Group at Stoel Rives LLP. She regularly provides advice and counsel to businesses operating in Alaska and Washington. She can be reached at renea.saade@stoel.com or 907-263-8412.

 

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