Arkansas Labor Laws

March 13th 2024

This article covers:

What are Arkansas Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Arkansas Minimum Wage $11.00
Arkansas Overtime 1.5 times the minimum wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($16.50 for minimum wage workers)
Arkansas Breaks Breaks not required by law

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, the Civil Rights Act sets strict standards for equal treatment in the workplace to ensure that all employees have equal access to job opportunities and are protected from discrimination in the hiring process. This act makes it illegal for employers with 9 or more employees to discriminate against workers based on their:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • National origin
  • Disability

Other Arkansas employment laws also prohibit discrimination based on genetic information, military service status, and age, unless it’s a bona fide occupational qualification. Additionally, federal law protects the confidentiality of an applicant’s medical history, prohibits employers from making hiring decisions that discourage union membership, and bans the use of an applicant’s financial history in hiring decisions. As per the Arkansas Right to Work Law, labor unions are also restricted from mandating membership as a precondition for employment. This is in line with approximately half of the states within the US that have implemented “Right-to-work” legislation.

In Arkansas, the concept of “at-will-employment” is recognized, allowing for either the employer or employee to end the working relationship at any time without providing a reason. However, several exceptions to this rule protect employees from being terminated unjustly. They include:

  • Discrimination based on the employee’s age, sex, religion, national origin, race, disability, or genetic information
  • Termination due to pregnancy or the exercise of an employee’s right to have an abortion
  • Violation of a written agreement stating that the employee would only be terminated for a valid cause
  • Refusal by the employee to engage in illegal activity
  • Absence from work as a result of serving on jury duty
  • Whistleblowing activities

The rules regarding the payment of final wages in Arkansas vary depending on the circumstances of the termination of employment. In the event of termination due to firing or layoff, the final paycheck must be issued to the employee within 7 days of their dismissal. If the employee resigns or quits due to a labor dispute, their final paycheck should be provided on the next regularly scheduled payday. It’s important to note that if an employer fails to provide the final paycheck to the employee within the required time frame, the employee is entitled to receive double the amount of their wages.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Arkansas?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Arkansas that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • OSHA Laws – Employees in the majority of private industries and state programs are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act to work in a safe and healthy environment. Employers must eliminate all known hazards from the workplace. To ensure that these hazards are not present in the workplace, OSHA conducts workplace inspections and investigations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes and regulates several types of workplace hazards, including:
    • Safety hazards such as tripping hazards, unguarded machinery, and confined spaces.
    • Biological hazards like blood and other bodily fluids, viruses, and animal droppings.
    • Physical hazards, including radiation exposure and extreme temperatures.
    • Ergonomic hazards like repetitive movements and awkward postures.
    • Chemical hazards from substances like cleaning products, paints, and solvents.
    • Work organization hazards related to workload demands and workplace violence.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – As an employee, it’s important to feel secure in the knowledge that you can report illegal or unethical activity in the workplace without fear of retaliation. That’s where Arkansas whistleblower protection laws come into play. In Arkansas, both private and public employees are protected under the state’s whistleblower protection laws. These laws ensure that employees can report wrongdoing without fear of being punished by their employers. However, it’s worth noting that these laws also allow employers the opportunity to correct any violations within a reasonable timeframe. This dual approach to whistleblower protection not only protects employees but also provides employers with the chance to address any issues and improve their workplace practices.
  • COBRA Laws – Despite losing employer-sponsored insurance, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), a federal statute, allows employees and their families to continue receiving group health benefits. It’s crucial to remember that up to 102% of the cost of the plan may be covered by the employee. Only businesses with 20 or more employees are subject to COBRA requirements. In addition to federal COBRA laws, some states, including Arkansas, have implemented mini-COBRA laws for employers with less than 20 employees. This statute offers temporary health coverage for a short time under certain circumstances, such as voluntary or nonvoluntary job loss, decrease in hours worked, change in employment status, death in the family, divorce, and other significant life events.
  • Drug & Alcohol – Testing Laws – Employers in Arkansas may choose to test job applicants for drugs and alcohol during the hiring process as well as based on reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use. Routine fitness-for-duty drug and alcohol testing is also allowed, in addition to testing for drug or alcohol-related issues as part of a rehabilitation program. Testing after an accident resulting in injury is also one of the rights offered to employers in Arkansas.
  • Background Check Laws – Private employers in Arkansas are unrestricted in their ability to collect and use arrest records for employment-related purposes. Background checks are additionally a must on several types of personnel including healthcare workers, childcare facility staff, auctioneers, bail bondsmen, instructors and other school staff, and professional counselors, psychologists, and social workers.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – In Arkansas, employers are obligated to maintain accurate and truthful records of employee data for 3 years. Although there is no set method for recordkeeping, the records must be readily accessible, securely stored, and subject to inspection at any time. These records include essential information such as:
    • Full name used in Social Security records, including any symbols or numbers used in place of the name
    • Home address, including Zip code
    • Date of birth for employees under 19 years of age
    • Sex and occupation
    • Specified time of day and day of the week when the workweek begins, if the same for all workers, a single notation will suffice
    • Regular hourly pay rate and basis for calculation, such as per hour, per week, or per commission
    • Hours worked for each day and total hours worked during the workweek
    • Total wages earned during the workday or workweek, excluding overtime compensation
    • Total overtime compensations, excluding straight-time earnings
    • Total wage additions and deductions, along with their nature
    • The total amount of wages paid for each pay period
    • Date of payment and the corresponding pay period covered.
  • Mandatory State and Federal Employee Notifications Laws – Employers in Arkansas have a legal obligation to display various state and federal employee notices in prominent and easily accessible locations for their staff. Failure to do so can result in penalties and fines. The following notices must be displayed in the workplace:

To learn more about which employers are required to display these notices and where to obtain them, visit the Arkansas Department of Labor & Licensing website.  

Arkansas Payment Laws

As an employer or employee in Arkansas, it’s important to be informed about the state’s minimum wage laws. We provide below a comprehensive overview of the regulations surrounding the minimum wage, the tipped minimum wage, and the subminimum wage.

What is the Minimum Payment in Arkansas?

Voters in Arkansas passed legislation in November 2018 that set the state’s current minimum wage at $11 per hour. This requirement applies to employers with four or more employees. However, employers with fewer than four employees must pay their workers no less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

In Arkansas, there are specific circumstances where the minimum wage can be lower. In Arkansas, employees who work in establishments that allow tipping are entitled to receive a minimum wage of $2.63 per hour. However, their tips must bring their total earnings up to the standard minimum wage. If not, it becomes the employer’s responsibility to make up the difference. This highlights the importance of accurate record-keeping for both employees and employers. Employers must ensure that they are tracking their workers’ tips accurately to ensure that they comply with the state’s minimum wage laws. On the other hand, employees should also keep records of their tips to ensure that they are being paid the correct amount.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Arkansas?

Students who are enrolled full-time at an accredited educational institution in Arkansas are entitled to receive no less than 85% of the state’s minimum wage. This ensures that students receive a fair wage for the work they perform. To strike a balance between education and work, students are limited to working no more than 20 hours per week during the school year, and no more than 40 hours during school breaks. To give apprentices and student-learners the financial support they need to excel in their academics and careers, this sub-minimum wage requirement also applies to them. The US Department of Labor must issue employers interested in hiring students a legitimate certification attesting to their accreditation status and their commitment to paying student workers fairly.

What is the Payment Due Date in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, employers have a clear obligation to ensure their hourly employees receive their wages on time. This means that payment must be made on a regular payday, with a minimum frequency of biweekly. Employers who fail to adhere to this requirement risk legal consequences, as well as damage to their reputation for fair treatment of workers.

Jibble is a timesheet software to track employee time according to Arkansas labor requirements.

What are Arkansas Overtime Laws?

Under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the employees in the state of Arkansas are entitled to receive compensation for overtime work at a rate that is no less than one and a half times the normal rate of pay. Generally, overtime compensation is required for any additional hours worked that surpass 40 hours in a workweek.

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Arkansas?

It must be noted that certain categories of employees are exempt from the aforementioned overtime compensation regulations. These classifications of personnel are not rigorously entitled to the federally established overtime compensation rates and must instead negotiate these terms with their employer. They include:

  • Executive Personnel
  • Administrative Personnel
  • Learned Professionals, including artistic professionals
  • Information Technology Personnel
  • External Sales  Representative
  • Highly Renumerated Personnel

The federally regulated earnings threshold necessary for exempting these personnel stands at $684 per week.

It must be noted, however, that certain employees are consistently entitled to the overtime compensation rates established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of their level of earnings. The following classifications are:

  • Repetitive manual laborers, known as blue-collar workers
  • Emergency service personnel, including firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and their equivalents

Learn more in detail about Arkansas Salaried Employees Laws and Arkansas Overtime Laws.

What are Arkansas Time Off/Break Laws?

In Arkansas, employers are not legally obligated to offer breaks to employees, except for minors under 16 who work in the entertainment industry. However, if employers opt to provide break periods, they must ensure that breaks shorter than 20 minutes are compensated. Further, for meal breaks lasting more than 20 minutes, compensation is not required and during an unpaid meal break, employees must be completely relieved of their job duties.

What are Arkansas Breastfeeding Laws?

Arkansas values the health and well-being of nursing mothers, and as such, they have laws in place to ensure they can express milk at work. Employers are legally obliged to provide a private and suitable space, which cannot be a toilet stall, for employees to pump milk. They must also allow a reasonable amount of time for this activity. While employers can request that lactation breaks are taken during rest or meal breaks, they may be exempt from this requirement if accommodating the request would cause significant difficulty for the business.

What are Arkansas Leave Laws?

The regulation of employee leave in Arkansas is governed by state laws and can vary from other jurisdictions. It’s always recommended to consult with a legal expert or HR representative to fully understand your rights and obligations. To help you understand the requirements and options available to employers in Arkansas, we’ve provided an overview of both mandatory and voluntary types of leave.

What is Arkansas Required Leave?

Arkansas has several leave types that companies must provide for their employees. These include the following:

  • Family and Medical Leave – A federal statute known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires companies to offer qualified workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year. This statute applies in a variety of situations, allowing workers to juggle work and family obligations, including childbirth and looking after a newborn, fostering or adopting a child, taking care of a close relative who has a significant medical condition, and a major health issue with the individual that makes it difficult for them to perform their job.
  • Jury Service Leave – In Arkansas, employees have a civic responsibility to serve on a jury when summoned, and employers are obligated to respect this right. The state law protects employees from facing any adverse actions from their employers for taking leave to fulfill their civic duty. Employers are not required to compensate employees for the time taken off for jury duty. However, they cannot penalize the employees by requiring them to use their paid time off such as sick days or vacation days.
  • Time Off for Voting – Employees in Arkansas are allowed to take time off work on election day to cast their ballots. To guarantee that employees have enough time to vote, employers must take into account their schedules. Employers are not required to compensate staff for time off used for voting.
  • Military Service Leave – Employers are obligated to grant unpaid leave to employees who are members of the military and are being deployed for active duty. Upon their return from deployment, these employees are entitled to reclaim their previous work conditions, including their prior rate of pay.
  • Time Off for Organ or Bone Marrow Donation – Organ and bone marrow donation is a selfless act that can save someone’s life. If an employee decides to take this step, they are entitled to up to 90 days of leave, the payment status of which is determined by the employer. However, employees covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are not eligible for organ and bone marrow donation leave.

What is Arkansas Non-Required Leave?

Employers in Arkansas are not required by law to provide all types of leaves. Various types of leaves are not mandated and remain at the discretion of the employer to provide them. These include:

  • Sick Leave – When it comes to taking time off due to illness, employers are not legally required to provide either paid or unpaid sick leave. However, if the company has established a policy regarding sick leave benefits, the employer is expected to abide by it. This could include provisions for both paid and unpaid sick leave, depending on the specific policy.
  • Vacation or Holiday Leave – Employers are not legally compelled to offer vacation or holiday leave. However, if the company has established a policy regarding these benefits, the employer is expected to abide by it. This could include provisions for paid vacation or holiday time, depending on the specific policy.
  • Grief and Bereavement Leave – Employees in Arkansas need to recognize that their company is not legally compelled to grant time off for mourning and related considerations.

Here is a table of official US holidays:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Day after Thanksgiving Fourth Friday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Arkansas Child Labor Laws?

In Arkansas, minors can start working at the age of 16, provided the work they are doing is not hazardous. For those who are even younger, the minimum employment age is 14. By establishing these regulations, Arkansas is ensuring that minors are protected and have opportunities to gain valuable work experience while they are still in school.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, the state has established specific child labor laws that regulate the working hours and conditions for minors under the age of 16. According to these laws, minors under the age of 16 are only allowed to work a maximum of 6 hours a day or 48 hours total in a workweek. Additionally, their permitted working hours are restricted to between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on school days, except evenings that are not followed by school days, where they may work until 9 p.m. These restrictions help to ensure that minors can attend school, engage in recreational activities, and get adequate rest.

According to Arkansas child labor laws, the state places certain restrictions on the work hours and duties of minors over the age of 16. These minors may not work more than 10 hours in a single day, with a maximum of 54 hours per workweek, they are restricted from working over 10 hours within 24 hours, and their working hours are restricted from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m..

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Arkansas?

To ensure their protection, Arkansas has enacted strict laws that prohibit minors from working in potentially hazardous occupations. Some of these occupations are:

  • Operating heavy machinery
  • Working in establishments that serve alcohol
  • Driving or repairing motor vehicles
  • Participating in construction work
  • Mining
  • Handling explosives

For information on jobs restricted for minors in Arkansas, refer to the Arkansas child labor laws review by the Arkansas Department of Labor.

For more information on prohibited occupations for minors in Arkansas, consult the Arkansas Department of Labor’s review of child labor laws.  

Learn more in detail about Arkansas Child Labor Laws.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.