The State of Arkansas has designated several days each calendar year as state holidays. The implications of these state holidays on public employers and private employers is discussed below.
The following list contains the state holidays recognized by Arkansas.
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January)
- Robert E. Lee’s Birthday (3rd Monday in January)
- George Washington’s Birthday (3rd Monday in February)
- Daisy Gatson Bates Day (3rd Monday in February)
- Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
- Independence Day (July 4)
- Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
- Veterans Day (November 11)
- Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)
- Christmas Eve (December 24)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
When any of the listed holidays falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday. If a holiday falls on Saturday, it is observed on the prior Friday. AR Statute 1-5-101
Constitutional officers may use their own discretion in determining whether their offices will remain open or be closed on state holidays. State offices in Pulaski County may not be closed on legal holidays during a regular session, a fiscal session, or a special session of the General Assembly; however, those offices may only require the minimum number of employees to work on a holiday that are necessary to conduct the office’s business. State-supported institutions of higher learning may require employees to work on state holidays. AR Statute 1-5-104
Click here for a list of federal holidays.
State employees who are required to work on legal holidays are entitled to the equivalent time off at a later date. AR Statute 1-5-102, AR Statute 1-5-104 The substitute time off must be taken as soon as practical and supervisors are responsible for scheduling the days off in lieu of holidays for their employees. AR Statute 1-5-104
State employee birthdays
State employees are entitled to one paid day of leave each year to observe their birthdays. AR Statute 1-5-101
Public primary and secondary schools must observe Labor Day and no school may be held on that day. If the school year extends past Memorial Day, public primary and secondary schools must observe the holiday and no school may be held, except when it is used as a make-up day. AR Statute 6-10-106 School districts may designate other holidays as days off. AR Statute 6-17-201
Private employers in Arkansas are not required to close on any of the listed holidays. Additionally, private employers are not required to allow employees to take either paid or unpaid time off on the holidays nor are they required to pay employees any premium wage rates to employees who work on the holidays. Private employers may establish policies or practices granting employees time off on any of the listed holidays or agree to pay premium wage rates to employees who work on those days. Employers who establish such policies or practices may be required to comply with them.
Find out more about Arkansas’s Leave Laws.
Arkansas state employees are entitled to paid leave on the above listed holidays if they are on pay status the last scheduled work day before the holiday and the first scheduled workday after the holiday. AR Statute 1-5-102, AR Statute 1-5-104 State departments or agency directors may require employees to work on legal holidays if they determine there is a need. AR Statute 1-5-104 This includes state employees or employees at state offices that are essential to the preservation and protection of public peace, health, and safety may be required to work on state holidays.