Arkansas

Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

Ordinarily, the hours to be used in computing the regular rate of pay may not exceed the legal maximum regular hours which, in most cases is 40 hours per workweek.

 

An employee who travels from home before his regular workday and returns to his home at the end of the workday is engaged in ordinary home to work travel which is a normal incident of employment. This is true whether he works at a fixed location or at different job sites.

Overtime

An employer has to pay overtime (one and one-half times the regular rate of pay) to non-exempt employees for all hours actually worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. This means that you may work more than 8 hours in a day or work more than a regularly scheduled shift, and still not exceed 40 hours of actual work in a workweek. If your employer pays you for hours not actually worked, such as for a holiday or a sick day, then those hours do not count as hours actually worked for the purpose of state and federal overtime law.

Breaks

Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes, are common in the industry. They promote the efficiency of the employee and are customarily paid for as working time. They must be counted as hours worked. Compensable time of rest periods may not be offset against other working time such as compensable waiting time or on-call time. Bona fide meal periods are not working time. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily, 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period.

 

Breast Feeding Break

An employer must provide reasonable daily unpaid break time to an employee who needs to express breast milk unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. The employer must make a reasonable effort to provide employees with a private, safe and clean space close to their work area, other than a toilet stall, to express breast milk. Ark. Code § 11-5-116.

Minimum Wage

Effective January 1, 2017, the state’s hourly minimum wage is $8.50. Employers covered by the FLSA also are covered by the state minimum wage law if they have at least four employees. An employer covered by both state and federal minimum wage laws must pay the highest minimum wage. 

 

Effective January 1, 2019, the state’s hourly minimum wage would be revised to $9.25.

 

Full-time students of state-accredited schools working 20 hours or less during school sessions or 40 hours during vacation time may be paid 85 percent of the state’s minimum wage. Learners, student learners or apprentices may be paid 85 percent of the state’s minimum wage where the employer has current and valid certification to do so from the federal Labor Department. Individuals handicapped by lack of skill or by age, physical deficiency or injury so that their earning capacities are impaired can be given temporary special exemption licenses authorizing their employment at wages lower than the minimum wage.

Tips & Gratuities

The minimum hourly cash wage for tipped workers is $2.63, based on a maximum tip credit of $5.87. Tips must be sufficient to raise the employee to the applicable minimum wage rate (either the state’s 2017 hourly rate of $8.50 or the federal $7.25 rate).

Meal Breaks

Bona fide meal periods are not working time. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily, 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period.

 

A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating.

Special Leave

Unpaid Leave
Employees may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected, leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Please refer to main United States page for further details on this Federal law.
Voting Leave

Employers must schedule employee work hours on election day in a way that will allow employees the opportunity to vote. Employers are not required to pay employees for voting leave.

Jury Duty Leave

An employee may not be discharged, lose sick leave or vacation time or suffer any other form of a penalty due to absence for jury duty. An employer is not required to pay an employee for jury duty leave.

Military Leave

In addition to the federal USERRA, Arkansas law provides similar job protections to members of the state armed forces, including the National Guard, a reserve component of the armed forces or militia. Employers must grant unpaid leave to state military members when called to active duty in the state as though they had been called to U.S. active duty. An employee must be reinstated to his or her original position upon being released from duty.

Victim Leave

An employer may not discharge or discipline a victim (or his or her representative) of any violent crime due to his or her:

      • Participation at the prosecuting attorney’s request in preparation for a criminal proceeding; or
      • Attendance at a criminal proceeding, if reasonably necessary to protect the interests of the victim.
Adoptive Parents Leave

An employer who provides paternity or maternity leave to biological parents must allow paternity or maternity leave for adoptive parents upon placement of an adoptive child if requested. An employer must grant leave to adoptive parents under the same policies and procedures established for biological parents after the birth of a child, including any benefits provided by the employer. This does not apply to an adoption of a person over 18 years of age by the spouse of a custodial parent, or an adoption of a foster child by the child’s foster parents.

Bone Marrow or Organ Transplant Leave

An employer must grant a leave of absence to an employee in order to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor if requested by the employee in writing. Any leave granted is in addition to any medical, personal or other paid leave provided by the employer. Leave must be provided for up to 90 days unless an employer agrees to leave for longer than 90 days. Leave may be paid or unpaid, at the employer’s discretion. If the employer pays the employee’s regular salary or wages during the leave, the employer is entitled to a tax credit of 25 percent of the regular salary or wages paid to the employee while on leave for bone marrow or organ donation. While an employer may grant leave for a period of longer than 90 days, only the wages or salary paid during the first 90 days of the leave are eligible for the credit. The credit must be taken within one year of the date the leave began.

Last updated on: February 7th, 2019