Arkansas Leave Laws

March 18th 2024

Leaves of absence are essential for the wellbeing of employees and can help boost productivity and positivity in the workplace.

This article provides an overview of leave laws in Arkansas, exploring the multiple types of leave to help employees understand their entitlements.

Leave in Arkansas is governed by state laws and spilt into 2 categories: mandatory and voluntary. It is important to note that regulations for private and public employees may differ.

This Article Covers

Arkansas Required Leave
Arkansas Non-Required Leave

Arkansas Required Leave

In Arkansas, there are various types of leave which employers must provide for their employees. These include the following:

1. Family and Medical Leave

  • Eligibility: The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a statute which requires companies to offer unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible workers. To be eligible, employees must have worked at least 12 months and 1,250 hours for an employer. This law applies to all state employers, public and private elementary or secondary school employers, and companies that have at least 50 workers.
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks of leave per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: A variety of situations including childbirth and looking after a new-born, fostering or adopting a child, taking care of a close family member who has a serious medical condition, and a major health issue with the employee that makes it difficult for them to perform their job.

2. Jury Service Leave

  • Eligibility: All employers in Arkansas must permit employees to take leave to fulfil their civic duty to serve on a jury, when summoned. State law protects employees from facing adverse actions from their employers for taking this leave of absence.
  • Duration:For the duration of the jury duty.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: When an employee is summoned for jury duty.
  • Pay: Private employers are not required to pay employees for the time taken to fulfil jury service. A state employee is entitled to full compensation and the payment of any fees for such services.

3. Time Off for Voting

  • Eligibility: All employers must schedule the working hours on an election day to ensure employees have time to go and cast their vote.
  • Duration:Sufficient time to vote.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To exercise the right to vote on an election day.
  • Penalties: Any employer who refuses to permit an employee adequate time-off to vote will be subject to a fine of between $25 and $250.

4. Military Service Leave

  • Eligibility: Employers are obligated to grant unpaid leave to employees who are members of the military and are called up for active duty, for training or for any other official duties. Upon their return, these employees are entitled to reclaim their previous role, rate of pay and work privileges.
  • Duration: Those required to attend training or official duties are eligible to up to 15 days of paid leave per year, plus necessary travel time. Employees required to deploy on active duty, will be placed on extended military leave without pay.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For active duty, training or any other type of service.

5. Time Off for Organ or Bone Marrow Donation

  • Eligibility: Any employee who has decided to donate an organ or bone marrow is entitled to leave. However, if an employee is covered by the FMLA, they will not also be eligible for the state organ and bone marrow donation leave.
  • Duration: Private employers can grant up to 90 days of leave for employees. State employees are allowed up to 7 days of leave for bone marrow donations and 30 days of leave for an organ donation per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To donate an organ or bone marrow.
  • Pay: Private employers are not required to pay for this leave, but they may choose to do so. Public employers must pay their employees for donation leave. 

6. Sick Leave

  • Eligibility: Any employee who works in a regular salary position shall accrue sick leave with pay in the same proportion as time worked. Emergency, hourly, intermittent, or per diem employees are not eligible.
  • Duration: Employees can accrue 1 day of paid leave for each completed month of service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: Can be taken if an employee is unable to work due to sickness or injury, or due to the death or serious illness of an immediate family member. This includes a parent, sibling, spouse, child, grandparent, grandchild, in-laws or any individual acting as a parent or guardian.

Arkansas Non-Required Leave

Employers in Arkansas are not required by law to provide certain categories of leave. The provision of these benefits remains at the discretion of the employer. Non-mandatory types of leave in Arkansas include:

1. 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.

2. 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.

The official holidays observed in Arkansas can be found in the table below:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights 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

 If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Arkansas, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Arkansas, and your rights as an hourly employee in Arkansas. You can also 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.