Arkansas Labor Laws Guide
Ultimate Arkansas labor laws guide: minimum wage, overtime, break, leave, hiring, termination, and miscellaneous labor laws.
|Arkansas Labor Laws FAQ|
|Arkansas minimum wage||$11|
|Arkansas tipped minimum wage||$2.63|
|Arkansas overtime||1.5 times the minimum wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($16.5 for minimum wage workers)
|Arkansas breaks||Breaks not required by law|
Table of contents
Arkansas wage laws
Here, we have a brief overview of laws pertaining to the minimum wage, tipped minimum wage, and subminimum wage in Arkansas.
|ARKANSAS MINIMUM WAGE RATES|
|Regular minimum wage||Tipped minimum wage||Subminimum wage|
|$11 per hour||$2.63 per hour||$9.35 per hour|
Minimum wage Arkansas
Passed by the voters in November 2018, the current minimum wage in Arkansas is $11. This requirement applies to employers with four or more employees.
Employers with fewer than four employees need to pay their workers at a rate not lower than the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.
Non-standard deductions that would bring the employee below minimum wage are not allowed.
These deductions include:
- Spoilage or breakage,
- Fines or penalties for lateness,
- Quitting without notice, etc.
However, some deductions to the minimum wage can be made following court orders — but, also, if there are any wage assignments to a third party, or if cost needs to be covered for board, lodging, apparel, or similar expenses.
Other than deductions, there are also specific cases in which the minimum wage can be lower. In the state of Arkansas, these cases include those when workers are paid a tipped minimum wage, and those where student rates apply.
Tipped minimum wage in Arkansas
For employees working in establishments that include tipping, tipped minimum wage is $2.63 per hour.
In this case, the tips workers earn must bring them up to at least a minimum wage.
If not — the employers need to cover the difference.
This means that it is the employer’s responsibility to keep accurate track of the tips employees receive.
Subminimum wage in Arkansas (Student rates)
Students enrolled full-time in any accredited educational institution in Arkansas are to be paid no less than 85% of the minimum wage.
Additionally, these students cannot work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, and more than 40 hours on weeks it is not.
As for student-learners and apprentices, the same sub-minimum wage requirement applies.
However, the employer must acquire valid certification from the US Department of Labor, which would affirm their status as being accredited to hire students.
Arkansas payment laws
Arkansas employers are required to pay most of their hourly employees on a regular payday and with regular frequency — at minimum biweekly.
Arkansas overtime laws
In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, Arkansas employee rights include a right to overtime work being paid at a rate not lower than 1.5 times the regular pay rate.
In most cases, overtime must be paid for any additional hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.
There are exemptions to this rule, which can apply to:
- Executive employees
- Administrative employees
- Learned professionals (including creative professionals)
- Computer employees
- Outside salespersons
- Highly compensated employees
These categories of employees are not strictly entitled to federally prescribed overtime rates, and they have to negotiate these rates with their employer.
The federally administered threshold of earnings necessary to exempt these employees amounts to $684 per week.
Exemptions do not apply to the following categories:
- Blue-collar workers, all manual laborers performing repetitive duties
- Firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other first responders
These employees are always entitled to the overtime rates established by the FLSA, no matter how high their earnings.
Arizona overtime laws
Overtime in Arizona is regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act. According to FLSA, anything over 40 weekly hours worked is considered overtime.
Unlike some states who also specify overtime with daily work hours (anything over 8 hours per workday is considered overtime), Arizona doesn’t have any such regulation.
When it comes to overtime rates, employees paid hourly are entitled to 1.5 times their hourly wage when they enter overtime.
According to FLSA, salaried employees earning over $455 per week are exempt from overtime pay. However, in Arizona, the state law claims that salaried employees are not exempt from overtime pay, but their salary requirements are higher. Since the hourly wage is $12.80 per hour, and the salaried employee worked 65 hours, their weekly salary would have to be $812.05 to exempt them from overtime.
Arkansas break laws
The state of Arkansas does not require employers to provide breaks, other than to minors under 16 working in entertainment.
If the employer decides to provide break periods, the following rules apply:
- The employer is required to pay for all breaks under 20 minutes.
- If the employer provides a meal break (longer than 20 minutes), they do not have to compensate the employee for it.
- If the meal break is unpaid, the employee must be relieved of all their responsibilities for its duration.
Special rules apply to lactation breaks.
Arkansas breastfeeding laws
Arkansas employee rights include a right to lactation breaks.
Employers are required by law to provide a private and appropriate place (a toilet stall is not considered an appropriate place) for breastfeeding employees to express milk.
They also must allow a reasonable amount of time for this activity.
However, the employer can require that the employee takes a lactation break during rest and meal breaks.
Also, the employer may get an exemption from this requirement if they can prove that providing the necessary accommodation would cause undue hardship for the business.
Arkansas child labor laws
Unless the work is deemed hazardous, age 16 is when minors can begin working at most jobs.
The minimum age for employment is 14.
Labor laws for minors under the age of 16
Arkansas child labor laws state that the following rules apply for minors under the age of 16:
- They can work a maximum of 6 hours a day, or 48 hours total in a workweek
- Their permitted working hours are from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on school days, and extended until 9 p.m. on nights that are not followed by school days.
Labor law for minors aged 16 and over
Arkansas child labor laws state that the following rules apply for minors over the age of 16:
- They can work a maximum of 10 hours a day, bringing the number of total hours to a maximum of 54 in a workweek.
- They cannot work more than 10 hours within a 24-hour time span.
- Their permitted working hours are from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Prohibited occupations for minors in Arkansas
Arkansas prohibits minors from working in occupations potentially hazardous to their health and wellbeing.
Some of these occupations include the following:
- Operating heavy machinery
- Working in any establishment that serves alcohol
- Operating or servicing motor vehicles
- Construction work
- Handling explosives
Arkansas hiring laws
Abiding by the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, Arkansas employee right make it is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on their:
- National origin
All of these hiring laws apply to employers with 9 or more employees.
Additional protection offered to employees by other legislations include making it illegal to discriminate based on:
- Genetic information
- Military service status
- Age (except in cases when it’s a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) — for example with airline pilots)
When it comes to pre-employment inquiries (interviews), employers cannot ask potential employees questions concerning any of the listed characteristics.
Federal laws that apply in the situation of hiring employees, do the following:
- They protect the confidentiality of the applicant’s medical history.
- They ban the employer from making hiring decisions to discourage union membership.
- They ban the employer from making decisions based on the applicant’s financial history.
Arkansas Right-to-work law
More than half of US states have what are called “Right-to-work” laws.
These laws were passed with the intention of preventing unions from requiring membership from any employee as a condition of employment.
This is also the case in the Arkansas version of this law.
Arkansas workplace termination laws
Arkansas recognizes “at-will-employment” — meaning that either the employer or employee can terminate the work relationship at any time.
Reasons for termination also do not have to be stated by either party.
However, exemptions apply, and they include some of the following cases where the employer cannot lawfully fire someone:
- If the reason is the employee’s age, sex, religion, national origin, race, disability, and/or genetic information.
- If the reason is the employee being pregnant or having an abortion.
- If the employee had a written promise that they will be terminated only for a good reason, and were then fired arbitrarily.
- If the reason is the employee refusing to break the law.
- If the employee is absent due to serving on jury duty.
- If the reason is the employee becoming a whistleblower.
Final paycheck in Arkansas
When it comes to the final paycheck, different rules apply in the following scenarios:
- In cases where the employee is fired or laid off — the final paycheck must be paid within 7 days of the dismissal.
- If the employee quits or resigns due to a labor dispute, their final paycheck must be paid by the next regularly scheduled payday.
- If the employer fails to pay the final paycheck past its due date, the employee is entitled to the double amount of their wage.
Arkansas occupational safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Act regulates work safety conditions for most private industries and state programs. All employers covered by this act must provide their employees with workplaces free from known, serious hazards.
There are several types of work hazards, recognized and controlled for by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and include the following:
- Safety hazards (tripping hazards, floor spills, unguarded machinery, confined spaces, etc.)
- Biological hazards (blood, other bodily fluids, mold, viruses, insect bites, animal droppings, etc)
- Physical hazards (radiation, extremely hot or cold temperature exposure, constant loud noise, long periods of sunlight exposure)
- Ergonomic hazards (frequent lifting, inappropriately adjusted chairs, awkward or repetitive movements, etc)
- Chemical hazards (cleaning products, paints, acids, vapors and fumes, gasoline, solvents, pesticides, etc.)
- Work organization hazards (workload demands, violence, work intensity or pace, etc.)
The OSHA conducts workplace inspections and investigations to make sure these hazards are not present in the workplace.
Arkansas leave requirements
Different states have their own regulations around leave requirements for employers. Here’s an overview of both the required and non-required types of leaves in Arkansas.
Required leave in Arkansas
Leaves required by Arkansas law include:
Family and medical leave
Within the US, the only types of leave mandatory across all states are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which guarantees certain employees the right to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.
This act is designed to help employees balance out work and family responsibilities, and it covers the following scenarios:
- The employee has given birth and is taking care of a newborn child.
- The employee has adopted a child or taken one into foster care.
- The employee needs to take care of a member of their immediate family due to a serious health condition.
- The employee has a serious health condition that renders them incapable of work.
Jury duty leave
The employer cannot punish the employee in any way for taking leave to attend jury duty. This means that they cannot require employees to use any available sick days or vacation days to attend court as a juror.
However, employers are not required to pay for the time taken off to this cause.
Voting time leave
When scheduling work hours, the employer must take into account the time an employee needs to be able to vote on election day.
In this case too, the employer is not required to pay any time the employee takes off to vote.
When an employee is a member of the armed forces being called into active duty, the employer is required to provide them (unpaid) leave.
Once the employee returns from deployment, they are entitled to the same work conditions (including pay) that they previously had.
Organ or bone marrow donor leave
If the employee decides to become an organ or bone marrow donor, the employer is required to give them up to 90 days off.
The employer decides whether the leave will be paid or unpaid. Employees covered by the FMLA are not eligible for organ and bone marrow donation leave.
Non-required leave in Arkansas
Here we have a list of the types of leaves employers are NOT mandated to provide.
Employers are not required to provide either paid or unpaid sick leave. If the company policy provides these benefits, the employer should comply with the policy.
Vacation or holiday leave
Similarly to sick leave, employers are also not required to provide vacation time or holiday leave. But, if the company offers these benefits — employers need to abide by the policy.
In Arkansas, employers are not required to provide the time off to grieve the loss of a close family leave, to attend the funeral, and deal with any directly related matters.
Miscellaneous Arkansas labor laws
Following up is a review of miscellaneous labor laws particular to the state of Arkansas. These include:
- Whistleblower protection laws,
- COBRA laws,
- Drug and alcohol testing laws,
- Background check laws,
- Record keeping laws, and
- Required state and federal employee notices.
Whistleblower protection laws
All states have some form of whistleblower protection laws, created to protect employees against retaliation, when they report their employer’s illegal activity.
In this particular state, the Arkansas Whistleblower protection laws protect both private and public employees from employer retaliation. However, they also allow employers the opportunity to correct their conduct violations within a reasonable amount of time.
One federal law, named the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), gives employees and their families the ability to continue group health benefits once they lose employer-sponsored coverage.
This right applies for a limited period of time, and under certain circumstances, such as:
- Voluntary job loss,
- Involuntary job loss,
- Reduction in hours worked,
- Transitioning between jobs,
- Death in the family,
- Divorce, and
- Other major life events.
This is a temporary health coverage extension opportunity, and the employee may be required to pay up to 102% of the plan cost. Also, COBRA laws apply to employers with more than 20 employees.
Similarly to the federal COBRA laws, several states (including Arkansas) have instituted mini-COBRA laws, which apply to employers with less than 20 employees.
Following are the situations where the employer may choose to do so:
- Testing a job applicant for drugs and alcohol during the hiring process
- When there is reasonable suspicion leading to drug and alcohol testing
- If there is routine fitness-for-duty drug and alcohol testing
- When the employees are participating in programs providing assistance for drug or alcohol-related issues, which require follow-up testing for these substances
- After the employee has had an accident which resulted in injury
Background check laws
In Arkansas, there are no restrictions placed on private employers concerning the ability to obtain and use arrest records.
Additionally, employers are required to conduct background checks for the following categories of employees:
- Teachers and other staff working on school grounds
- Professional counselors, psychologists, and social workers
- Healthcare and personal care providers
- Childcare facilities staff
- Bail bondsmen
However, when it comes to social media — the employer cannot request that employees add them as social media contacts, nor request social media log-in information.
Record keeping laws
As far as record keeping goes, employers in Arkansas are required to maintain and keep accurate and truthful records of employee data for a period of 3 years.
This data includes:
- Full name used in Social Security records, and any symbols or numbers used instead of the name,
- Home address, with Zip code included,
- If the employee is under 19 years of age — date of birth,
- Sex and occupation,
- Specified time of day and day of week when the employee’s workweek begins. If this information is the same for all workers in the establishment, a single notation will suffice,
- Regular hourly pay rate, and the basis for calculating the wage — per hour, per week, per rate of commission, etc,
- Hours worked for each day, and total hours worked for the duration of the workweek,
- Total wages earned during the workday or workweek, overtime compensation excluded,
- Total overtime compensations, straight-time earnings excluded,
- Total wage additions and deductions, as well as their nature,
- Total amount of wages paid for each pay period, and
- Date of payment and the pay period this payment covered.
No particular method of record keeping is prescribed, but the data must be:
- Clear and accessible,
- Kept in a safe place, and
- Available for inspection at any time.
Required State and Federal employee notices
Arkansas laws require that employers put up State and Federal employee notices.
These have to be placed in conspicuous places, and easily accessible to all employees.
If not, employers can be required to pay penalties and fines.
The required notices include:
- The informational poster regarding the Federal Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws — the Your Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act notice
- Notice concerned with Minimum Wage, Overtime, Child Labor, Wage Collection and similar information — Notice to Employer and Employee
- Information detailing — Your Rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
- Notice to employees about the Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Information around the procedure of claiming unemployment insurance — Notice to Employees, How to Claim Unemployment Insurance
- Information detailing some known chemical hazards — Notice to Employer and Employee Act 556 of 1991 entitled the Public Employees’ Chemical Right to Know Act
- Notice mapping out employee compensation benefits — Workers' Compensation Notice and Instructions to Employers and Employees Form P
- OSHA's safety guidelines poster — OSHA's Job Safety and Health Protection
- Notice detailing USERRA employee rights — Your Rights Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- A poster with national human trafficking resources — Human Trafficking Poster
- Instructions for proper hand cleaning — Hand Washing Poster
You can find detailed information around which employers are required to put up notices and where to obtain them at this link to the Arkansas Department of Labor & Licencing website.
We hope this Arkansas labor laws guide has been helpful. We advise you to make sure you’ve paid attention to the links we’ve provided, as most of them will lead you to the official websites and other relevant information.
Please note that this guide was written in Q1 2022, so any changes in the labor laws that were included later than that may not be included in this Arkansas labor laws guide.
We strongly advise you to consult with the appropriate institutions and/or certified representatives before acting on any legal matters.
Clockify is not responsible for any losses or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal or tax advisors.