It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Arkansas statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Arkansas labor laws every small business owner should know.

Resources

First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:

Leave

  • Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one. 
  • Medical Leave: Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
  • Jury Duty: Employers are not required to pay an employee for time taken to respond to a jury summons, but they are not allowed to punish the employee in any way and may not require them to use any available vacation or sick leave. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays. 
  • Voting Leave: Employers must schedule time so each employee has enough time to vote on election day, but do not have to pay employees for any time they take off to vote. 
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave. 

Final Paycheck

  • Employees who are fired or laid off must be paid all final wages within 7 days of the termination. 
  • Employees who quit or resign due to a labor dispute must be paid final wages by the next regularly scheduled payday. 

Minimum Wage

  • The current minimum wage in Arkansas is $9.25.
  • The minimum wage will increase as follows over the next two years:
    • January 1, 2020: $10.00
    • January 1, 2021: $11.00

Tipped Wages

  • The current minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.63. 
  • Employees are allowed to participate in tip pooling arrangements. They must consent to participating in arrangements where the employer collects all tips and redistributes them according to a predetermined policy. 
  • The law is not clear on whether or not an employer can require employees to participate in the arrangement. 

Child Labor

  • Minors are prohibited from working in these industries
  • Minors under the age of 16 cannot work:
    • More than 6 days in a week
    • More than 48 hours in a week
    • More than 8 hours in a day 
    • Before 6 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on nights that are followed by a school day. On nights that are not followed by a school day, they may work until 9 p.m. 
  • Minors 16 years of age cannot work:
    • More than 6 days a week
    • More than 54 hours a week
    • More than 10 consecutive hours a day 
    • More than 10 hours in a 24-hour period 
    • Before 6 a.m. or after 11 p.m.

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • Arkansas labor laws require employers with 4 or more employees to pay non-exempt employees overtime at a rate of 1½ times their regular rate when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. 
  • State law does not require employers to provide breaks for adult employees. 
  • If employers choose to provide breaks, breaks less than 20 minutes must be paid. Meal periods do not need to be paid as long as the employees are free to do as they wish.  

Employment Discrimination

  • The Arkansas Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate because of race, religion, national origin, gender, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability.
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.       

Termination

Arkansas is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws regarding shift scheduling in Arkansas.

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