Arkansas Leave Laws




Vacation Leave

In Arkansas, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. See St. Edward Mercy Medical Center v. Ellison, 946 S.W.2d 726 (Ark. App., Div. 4 1997); Oil Fields Corp. v. Hess, 53 S.W. 2d 444 (Ark. 1932).

If an employer’s policy or contract provides for payment of accrued or earned vacation upon separation from employment, the employer must comply with the terms of the policy or contract. See St. Edward Mercy Medical Center v. Ellison, 946 S.W.2d 726 (Ark. App., Div. 4 1997); Oil Fields Corp. v. Hess, 53 S.W.2d 444 (Ark. 1932).

If an employer’s policy or contract provides for payment of accrued or earned vacation upon separation from employment, the employer must comply with the terms of the policy or contract. See St. Edward Mercy Medical Center v. Ellison, 946 S.W.2d 726 (Ark. App., Div. 4 1997); Oil Fields Corp. v. Hess, 53 S.W.2d 444 (Ark. 1932).

Neither Arkansas’ Legislature nor its courts have given any significant guidance regarding other potential vacation policy issues. They are silent regarding whether an employer may:

  • establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment,
  • deny payment for accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract is silent on the matter,
  • require an employee to comply with specific requirements to qualify for payment of vacation leave upon separation from employment, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year,
  • cap the vacation leave an employee may accrued over time,
  • implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it.

Although Arkansas’ authorities are silent regarding many vacation policy issues, based on the contractual emphasis Arkansas courts have placed on vacation policies, an employer is likely free to implement the vacation policy of its choosing, including policies that deny or limit payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment. An employer would be required to comply with the terms of its policy or contract. See St. Edward Mercy Medical

Center v. Ellison, 946 S.W.2d 726 (Ark. App., Div. 4 1997); Oil Fields Corp. v. Hess, 53 S.W. 2d 444 (Ark. 1932).




Sick Leave

Arkansas law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. An employer in Arkansas may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.



Holiday Leave

Arkansas law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Arkansas, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

State holidays

Visit our Arkansas State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Arkansas as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.



Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee any wages for time spent complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury.

An employer may not discharge or otherwise penalize an employee for complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury.

An employer may not require an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave for time spent responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.

Arkansas Stat. 16-31-106



Voting Leave

Arkansas law requires an employer to schedule time so each employee has sufficient time to vote on the day of election. The law does not require an employer to pay an employee for any time off granted to an employee to vote.

An employer that does not comply provide employees sufficient time off to vote can be fined not less than $25.00 nor more than $250.00. Arkansas Stat. 7-1-102



Bereavement Leave

Arkansas law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.