The Alaska minimum wage will increase from $10.19 to $10.34, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
It’s a 1.5 percent increase for workers — and a 1.5 percent cut into employers’ bottom line, which may have unintended consequences of having to cut workers’ hours, or even layoffs.
The impact will especially hit those who run restaurants, where workers often earn minimum wage plus tips. Restaurant owners in Anchorage, many of which are struggling to make rent and pay taxes, are currently allowed to open at just 25 percent capacity, hardly enough to make it worth opening the doors, and even harder to find workers who will work such shifts.
In 2014, Alaska voters passed a ballot initiative to adjust the minimum wage annually for inflation.
The Anchorage consumer price index increased 1.4 percent in 2019. By law, Alaska’s minimum wage must remain at least $1 per hour over the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25.