Arkansas Child Labor Laws

January 8th 2024

The primary objective of the child labor laws in Arkansas is to create a protected work environment for minors.

By establishing these regulations, Arkansas ensures that minors are safe and have opportunities to gain valuable work experience while they are still in school.

In this article, we will explore the fundamental elements of child labor laws in Arkansas, encompassing age restrictions, limitations on working hours, and industry-specific guidelines.

This article covers:


Employment Age for Minors in Arkansas

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.

Working Permit for Minors in Arkansas

Work permits for minors in Arkansas are mandatory until August 1, 2023, when Act 195 of 2023 comes into effect. 

When the act has been enforced, permits will no longer be required.

It is important to note that existing state and federal laws concerning work activities and hours will continue to apply and be enforced.

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..

Time Tracking of Minors’ Hours in Arkansas

The monitoring of working hours for underage employees is a crucial element in ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations, preventing the exploitation and mistreatment of child labor. It helps strike a delicate balance between work and education, safeguarding a child’s right to receive an education and have a healthy upbringing.

Furthermore, the tracking of attendance and work hours helps in supervising health and safety conditions, reducing the potential risks associated with children being exposed to hazardous or excessively long working periods.

In addition, maintaining records and timesheets can serve as a means of holding employers accountable for how they treat child laborers. Moreover, the data generated through time clock software can be a valuable asset for child rights organizations and policymakers as they advocate for stronger protective measures and regulations. This ultimately contributes to the overall well-being and future prospects of child laborers.

To know more about the entitlements of employees, check our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Arkansas and your rights as an hourly employee in Arkansas.

Arkansas Payment Laws for Minors

Minors in Arkansas are entitled to the state’s minimum wage which in Arkansas is at $11 per hour, as of November 2018. 

This requirement is applicable to employers with a staff of four or more individuals, while those with fewer than four employees are obligated to pay their workers at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

In certain situations, it is permissible to pay minors below the minimum wage.For this to happen, an employer must possess a Certificate of Eligibility issued by the Arkansas Department of Labor.

Break Requirements for Minors in Arkansas

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.

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

Workplace Notices and Documentation Requirements for Child Employees in Arkansas

Employers are responsible for keeping minors’ employment certificates on file during the period of the child’s employment and for three (3) years after the employment ends.

Further, a Notice to Employers and Employees regarding child labor, minimum wage, overtime, wage collection, and more should be displayed by employers who fall under the jurisdiction of the Minimum Wage Act in a prominent location visible to all employees.

Violating Minors Employment Laws in Arkansas

Stronger civil and criminal penalties have been recently introduced in Arkansas for violations of child labor laws through Senate Bill 390 under Act 687 of 2023. 

As such, employers who intentionally violate child labor regulations may face fines ranging from $100 to $5,000 for each violation, replacing the previous limit of $1,000. 

Additionally, the new legislation introduces a criminal penalty for employers who knowingly violate child labor laws, which could result in a felony charge.

Employers who knowingly employ a child in violation of child labor laws are committing a misdemeanor. If the violation leads to serious physical injury or death of a minor, it is an additional misdemeanor, in addition to the initial violation. However, if there is a second occurrence of serious physical injury or death of a minor, it becomes a felony for the employer.

Learn more about Arkansas Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.