An employer is required to compensate employees for all hours worked. Arkansas law defines hours worked to include all hours employees are suffered or permitted to work. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(A)(1) This includes all hours an employer knows or has reason to believe employees are working, including work away from the employer’s premises. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(A)(2)
Arkansas law places the burden on the employer to exercise control over its employees and ensure they are not working unscheduled or unwanted time. Promulgating a rule against working unapproved hours is not sufficient to absolve the employer of having to pay employees for unwanted hours worked. Instead, the employer must enforce rules and policies to ensure unwanted work is not performed. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(A)(3)
Arkansas law does not specifically define what constitutes a workweek for purposes of its minimum wage or overtime requirements.
Under Arkansas’ law, employers must pay employees for time they are on duty. This includes certain time employees spend waiting to perform work. Whether an employer must pay employees for waiting or standby time depends on the circumstances of the particular situation. Factors that are considered include:
- the construction of the agreements between the employer and employee;
- policies and procedures related to employment;
- the nature of services provided or work performed by the employee and its relation to the waiting time; and
- any other relevant factors and circumstances.
Characteristics of waiting or standby time that must be paid include:
- periods of inactivity are unpredictable and variable
- periods of inactivity are typically short
- employees are unable to use the time effectively for their own purposes
An employer generally does not need to pay employees for time the employees are relieved from duty and are able to use the time freely for their own purposes. Employees are considered to be off duty during this time. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(B)(3)
Examples of employees who are on duty while waiting to perform work include:
- a stenographer waiting for dictation;
- a messenger awaiting an assignment;
- a fireman waiting for an alarm;
- a factory worker waiting for machinery to be repaired;
- a repairman waiting at a customer’s house for the customer to arrive
Arkansas requires employers to pay employees for on-call time if the employees are required to stay on the employer’s premises or so close that they cannot effectively use the on-call time for their own purposes. An employer does not need to pay employees for on-call time if they are not required to remain on the employer’s premises and are free to use the time for their own purposes. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(B)(4)
Arkansas requires employers to count employee sleeping time as hours worked for purposes of its minimum wage requirements if employees are required to be on duty less than 24 hours.
If an employee is required to be on duty for 24 or more hours, the employer and employee may agree to exclude no more than 8 hours for bona fide regularly scheduled sleeping periods from hours worked. To be able to exclude up to 8 hours due to sleep, the employer must provide the employee with an adequate sleeping facility.
The employer must count any interruption in the employee’s sleep time as hours worked and, if the employee is unable to get at least five (5) hours of uninterrupted sleep, the employer must count the entire sleep period as hours worked. If the employer and employee do not have a sleeping time agreement, any sleeping time must be counted as hours worked.
For individuals who reside at their employer’s place of business on a permanent basis or extended periods of time where it is difficult to calculate on-duty and off-duty hours, Arkansas will accept any reasonable agreement between the employer and employee governing hours worked.
Arkansas law does not require employers to pay employees for normal travel from home to work and from work to home. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(F)(1) In limited situations, an employer may be required to pay employees for travel from home to work when the travel is for emergency reasons and the employee must travel a substantial distance. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(F)(2)
Employers must pay employees for travel time when the travel is part of the employees’ principal work activities, such as traveling from job site to job site, or when the employees work while traveling, such as a bus driver or airline pilot. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(F)(4), (7) It also includes travel time from an initial location to a primary work location if the employer requires the employees to stop at the initial location. Examples of reasons an employee may be required to show up at an initial location include to pick up tools or to meet with other employees. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(F)(4)
Employers must pay an employee for travel time when the employee is required to travel to and from another city in the same day. However, the employer may deduct the time it takes the employee to travel to and from the airport, bus terminal, rail depot, or other location from which the employee travels to the other city. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(F)(3)
An employer must pay employees for travel time when the employee will be away from home overnight if the travel time occurs during the employees’ normal daily work hours. This includes travel on days on which work is not typically performed, such as Saturday and Sunday. If the travel occurs outside of the employees’ normal work hours, the travel time does not need to be paid. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(F)(5)
If employees chose to drive their own vehicle when traveling for work instead of taking an alternative form of transportation, e.g. airplane, bus, etc., the employer may pay the employees for either the time spent traveling in their own vehicle or the time it would have taken the employee to travel using the other form of transportation. AR Wage and Hour Regs 010.14-108(F)(6)
Meeting, lecture, and training time
Arkansas law requires employers to pay employees for time spent at meetings and lectures and in training unless all of the following requirements are met:
- the meeting, lecture, or training occurs outside the employees’ regular working hours;
- attendance is voluntary;
- the meeting, lecture, or training is not directly related to the employee’s job; and
- the employee does not perform productive work while attending.
Show up or reporting time
Arkansas law does not require employers to pay employees for reporting or showing up to work if no work is performed. An employer is also not required to pay an employee a minimum number of hours if the employer dismisses the employee from work prior to completing their scheduled shift. Employers are only required to pay employees for hours actually worked.