Arkansas Minimum Wage Laws




Minimum wage amount

Arkansas’ current minimum wage is $8.00. AR Code 11-4-210

Arkansas’ minimum wage will increase to $8.50 on January 1, 2017.
Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative, Issue 5 (2014)

Arkansas’ minimum wage requirement applies only to employers with four or more employees unless an exception or exemption applies. AR Code 11-4-203

Arkansas employers must also comply with federal minimum wage laws, which currently sets the federal minimum wage at $7.25. See FLSA: Minimum Wage.

If an employer chooses to pay employees minimum wage, the employer must pay those employees in accordance with the minimum wage law, either federal or state, that results in the employees being paid the higher wage. In most instances in Arkansas, the federal minimum wage law will apply as it generally guarantees a higher wage rate for employees than state law.




Tip minimum wage

Arkansas’ current minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.63. AR Code 11-4-212

Arkansas defines a tip as a sum of money presented by a customer to an employee as a gift in response to a service that was performed. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-107(E)(3)(a) It does not include any compulsory charges or fees the customer is required to pay to receive the service, including mandatory gratuities, even if the charges or fees are eventually distributed to employees. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-107(E)(3)(a) Gifts from customers in a form other than money or its equivalent, such as tickets or merchandise, cannot be counted as tips. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-107(E)(3)(a)

In addition to paying this wage, employers must ensure that tipped employees are paid the standard minimum wage rate of $6.25 when the tipped wage rate is combined with tips received. If the tipped wages earned plus tips received does not meet the standard minimum wage threshold, the employer is required to make up the difference. AR Code 11-4-212 The Arkansas Department of Labor may require an employee to show documentation to support a claim that the actual amount of gratuities received by the employee, during any work week, was less than the amount required to cover the difference between the tipped wage and the standard minimum wage. If the documentation supports the claim, the Director will require the employer to pay the employee the amount necessary to ensure the employee is paid the standard minimum wage. AR Code 11-4-212(b)

Employers may pay the tipped minimum wage to employees who work in occupations in which tips are customarily and usually recognized as part of an employee’s compensation for hiring purposes. AR Code 11-4-212 These occupations include servers, bellhops, beauty operators, and barbers, provided they actually receive tips. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-107(E)(2)(a) For occupations where tips are not customarily and usually part of an employee’s compensation, an employer may pay an employee the tipped minimum wage if the employee actually receives more than $20 per month. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-107(E)(2)(a) If an employee works twenty or more minutes within an hour in a non-tipped occupation, the employer must pay the employee the standard minimum wage rate for the entire hour, and may not take any credit towards the standard minimum wage requirement for tips earned. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-107(E)(2)(b)(ii)



Tip pooling and sharing

Arkansas law permits employees to participate in tip pools. Employees must consent to participating in tip pool arrangements where the employer collects all tips and redistributes them based on some pre-established formula. Employees may also practice tip splitting where the tipped employee gives a portion of their tips to other employees, such as a waiter splitting tips with a busboy. The rules are not clear whether an employer may require employees to engage in tip splitting. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-107(E)(3)(c)



Subminimum wage

Employees with disabilities

Arkansas law allows employers to pay employees with disabilities a wage that is lower than the standard minimum wage rate if the employer obtains a temporary special exemption license or a permit from the US Department of Labor or the Arkansas Department of Labor. AR Code 11-4-214; AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-105



Trainees

Arkansas minimum wage laws do not allow employers to pay trainees a wage rate less than the standard minimum wage unless the employee is subject to one of the other subminimum wage exception to the standard minimum wage requirements.



Apprentices

Arkansas law allows employers to pay apprentices a wage that is not less than 85% of the standard minimum wage rate if the employer obtains and maintains a valid certification from the US Department of Labor to do so. AR Code 11-4-215; AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-104(A)



Learners

Arkansas law allows employers to pay learners a wage that is not less than 85% of the standard minimum wage rate if the employer obtains and maintains a valid certification from the US Department of Labor to do so. AR Code 11-4-215; AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-104(A)



Student learners

Arkansas law allows employers to pay student learners a wage that is not less than 85% of the standard minimum wage rate if the employer obtains and maintains a valid certification from the US Department of Labor to do so. AR Code 11-4-215; AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-104



Student workers

Arkansas law allows employers to pay student workers a wage that is not less than 85% of the standard minimum wage rate if:

    • the employer obtains a certificate from the Arkansas Department of Labor to do so;
    • the full-time student attends an accredited institution of education in Arkansas or a border town of a sister state;
    • the full-time student works not more than (20) hours per week while school is in session or (40) hours per week when school is not in session;
    • the full-time student qualifies for employment under any child labor laws.

AR Code 11-4-210(b); AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-103