Arkansas Labor Laws 2024 | Wage and Hour Laws in Arkansas

Arkansas Labor Laws

Arkansas labor laws, including Arkansas labor laws 2024, impact the daily lives of employees and employers in Arkansas. Residents of Arkansas have many questions that affect them every day regarding Arkansas labor laws from minimum wage rates, overtime, wage payments, vacation and sick leave, child labor, meal and rest breaks, and more.

In addition to Arkansas labor laws, employer must also comply with federal labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and many other federal laws. And when federal laws are different from state Arkansas labor laws, usually companies must comply with the law that provides their workers the best protection.

Below we provide comprehensive information and resources regarding your more pressing Arkansas labor law questions to help you answer the question and help you make the right decision about you and your employment.

Minimum Wage

Under the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act, Arkansas’ applicable 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:


Arkansas labor laws require employers with four (4) or more employees to pay employees overtime at a rate of one and one-half times (1½ times) their regular rate when they work 40 hours or more in a workweek, unless an employee is otherwise exempt. AR Statute 11-4-211.

Federal laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) state that employees are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week unless otherwise exempt. Standard overtime pay is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.

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.


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.

Other Arkansas Labor Laws Topics and Resources

There are several other Arkansas labor laws governing the employers and their workplaces. Below are those topics and resources:

  • Arkansas Child Labor Laws covers topics including work during school hours and summer hours, school days and summer days, hour restrictions, work permits, and hazardous occupations.
  • Arkansas discrimination and civil rights laws are enforced by the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993. Employees are also protected by federal discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state and federal discrimination laws offer employees protections and violations based on the following:
Disability (a mental or physical impairment)Sex, including sexual harassmentGender expressionNational Origin
Race (includes hair texture)Sexual orientationReligionAncestry
CreedGender identityAge (40+)Pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions
ColorGenetic information
  • Under the Equal Pay Act, employers are required to pay female and male employees the same wages and compensation for comparable work unless there is a reasonable differentiation such as seniority.
  • Arkansas wage payment laws including covering frequency and manner of payment of wages, regular paydays, pay period, deductions, direct deposit and payroll cards, pay statements, record keeping, final paychecks, and notice requirements.
  • Arkansas labor law minimum wage and overtime exemptions covering non-exempt employees and exempt employees. The most common exemptions from Arkansas’ overtime compensation requirements are bona fide administrative, executive, and professional employees who are paid on a salary basis.
  • Arkansas labor laws regarding hours worked including rest breaks, meal breaks, on-call, waiting, travel, sleeping, and meeting times.
  • The Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing enforces the state laws and regulations regarding workplace safety and health referred to as Arkansas Occupational Safety and Health (AOSH). Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) that covers federal workplace safety and health requirements.
  • Active employees, including those in the national guard, and veterans may also be eligible for military leave under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
  • The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission manages the state’s worker compensation insurance claims and enforcement. Employees who are injured on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that minimizes the financial impact on the employee.

Other State’s Labor Law and Wage and Hour Information

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
District of ColumbiaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
FloridaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming
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