Wage and Hour Laws in Arkansas | Current Arkansas Labor Laws


Minimum Wage

To date, Arkansas’ minimum wage rate is $11.00 per hour. It was in 2008 when Arkansas had its last minimum wage changed from $6.25 to $11.00, increasing it by $4.75.

Unless there is an exemption or exception, this minimum wage requirement only applies to employers with at least four employees or more.

Also, all Arkansas employers must follow the federal minimum wage rate set at $7.25. Therefore, if an employer wants to pay minimum wage, whether federal or state, the employer must pay the employees the higher rate between the two.

Arkansas’ current minimum wage rate is $11.00.

For more information on Arkansas’s minimum wage laws, visit our Arkansas Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

Related topic covered on other pages include:


Overtime

Arkansas labor laws require employers with four (4) or more employees to pay employees overtime at a rate of 1½ times their regular rate when they work 40 hours or more in a work week, unless an employee is otherwise exempt. AR Statute 11-4-211. Federal overtime laws may also apply. For federally-defined exemption and other federal overtime laws see FLSA: Overtime.


Prevailing Wages

Under certain circumstances, employers in Arkansas may be required to pay residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage rates.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the Arkansas Prevailing Wages, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.

Typically, the US Department of Labor determines the prevailing wages in an area based on the county and the trade type. However, the federal rule applies to areas without prevailing wage law, combining the basic wage rate and fringe benefits.


Meals and Breaks

Arkansas labor laws do not require employers to provide meals or breaks (except to children under the age of 16 employed in the entertainment industry). AR Admin. Regs. for Child Labor Section 2.402(c).

However, if an employer chooses to provide a break period of 20 minutes or less, it must be paid. Additionally, if an employer chooses to provide a meal period (typically 30 minutes or longer), it may be unpaid so long as the employee is completely relieved of all work duties during the meal period. AR Admin. Regs. 010.14-108(C); AR Dept. of Labor FAQs.


Nursing Mother Breaks

Arkansas laws require employers to provide employees who are nursing mothers unpaid break time each day to express breast milk unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the employers’ operations. Nursing mothers must make reasonable efforts to minimize the disruption of the employers’ operations. Also, when possible, nursing mothers should attempt to take their nursing breaks at the same time as other breaks and meal periods provided by their employers.

Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide nursing mother employees with private, secure, and sanitary locations where nursing mothers may express breast milk. The locations must be in close proximity to the nursing mothers’ work areas. Toilet stalls do not meet the minimum standards for the nursing mothers’ location. Employers may ask nursing mothers to express breast milk at their normal work location if the normal work location meets the minimum standard for nursing mother locations.

Arkansas offers support and protection to nursing mothers in the workplace. Its law covers all nursing mothers and not just the ones paid by the hour.

House Bill 2411 protects nursing mothers who breastfeed in public places or locations where other people are present. This law amended the previous indecency law, protecting breastfeeding mothers in public from prosecution due to indecent exposure.


Vacation Leave

Employers in Arkansas need not provide vacation leave benefits to their employees, whether paid or unpaid. If employers decide to offer vacation leave benefits to their workers, they must abide by the policy or employment contract terms.

That said, employers need not pay earned and unused vacation leave unless stated in the employment contract or company policy.

Information about Arkansas vacation leave laws may now be found on our Arkansas Leave Laws page.


Sick Leave

Arkansas doesn’t have a labor law demanding employers provide sick leave benefits to their workers, with or without pay. Fortunately, most employers offer sick leave as an essential benefit for their employees.  

Also, other federal laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, may ask covered Arkansas employers to provide unpaid sick leave to their eligible workers. Employers with a minimum of 50 employees hired for 20 weeks or more must conform to the FMLA ruling.

Some employees may be eligible for the FMLA  if:

  • They have been working for the company for at least a year.
  • They have worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours in the previous year.
  • They worked with a minimum of 50 employees at a location within a radius of 75-miles.

Eligible employees can file for leave for up to 12 weeks in a year due to serious health problems, qualifying demands, or the need to bond with a new child.

Information about Arkansas sick leave laws may now be found on our Arkansas Leave Laws page.


Holiday Leave

Arkansas labor laws do not require private employers to provide holiday leave to their workers, whether paid or unpaid. Alternatively, private employers can demand work hours from their employees during holidays without the need to pay premium wages.

Information about Arkansas holiday leave laws may now be found on our Arkansas Leave Laws page.


Jury Duty Leave

An employer must allow his employee to perform jury duty by granting him unpaid time off. You may be required to present the summons for the leave approval.

An employer cannot penalize or discharge an employee for serving on a jury or following a summons. Employers cannot and should not ask their employees to use any of their paid or unpaid leaves when responding to jury duty.

Information about Arkansas jury duty leave laws may now be found on our Arkansas Leave Laws page.


Voting Leave

Employers need to set aside enough time for each employee to cast their votes on election day. Arkansas law does not ask employers to compensate their employers’ voting time. If an employer does not provide sufficient time for his employee to vote, he may be fined $25 to $250.

Information about Arkansas voting leave laws may now be found on our Arkansas Leave Laws page.


Severance Pay

Arkansas labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Unemployment

Under certain circumstances, NY residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits. See Arkansas State Unemployment Benefits.

The Arkansas Unemployment Insurance Law technically covers all employees unless their service type is excluded from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Law.


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We hope you find our newsletters help you better navigate employment and labor law issues.