Minimum Wage and Overtime

NOTE: Arkansas voters passed a minimum wage increase in November 2014. To learn more, please read the Minimum Wage Increase Fact Sheet. To read the Initiated Act, click here.

The state minimum wage is $7.50 per hour. 
The Arkansas Minimum Wage Act covers employers with 4 or more employees. Employers covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are also covered by the Arkansas law if they have 4 or more employees. An employer covered by both laws must pay the highest minimum wage.

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.

Tipped Employees


Tipped employees must be paid at least $2.63 per hour.  The tips they earn must be enough to bring them up to the applicable minimum wage of $7.50 per hour.  If the tips do not bring them up to minimum wage, the employer must add enough to their pay to do so.  It is the employer’s responsibility to keep accurate tip records.

Deductions for Employer Furnished Items

If an employer customarily and regularly furnishes board, lodging, apparel, or other items and services to an employee, the employer can only deduct thirty cents per hour below minimum wage from the employee’s pay. 


Example:  The employee makes $8.00 per hour, charged $100 worth of food and worked 40 hours during the week.  The employer is subject to the state minimum wage of $7.50 per hour.  The employee is owed $320 for the week, but the employer wants to hold out the $100 worth of food.  Can the employer hold out the $100?  No.  If the employer holds out the entire $100, the employee’s pay drops to $220 for the week.  The least the employer can pay the employee for that week is $300 (7.50/hr x 40) - $12 (.30 x 40) or $288.  So this employer can only hold out $32.  Note that if the employee had only made minimum wage for that week, the employer could only deduct $12 for from his or her pay.  It is important to note that in this example we are assuming that the employer customarily and regularly furnishes food, if the food was not customarily and regularly furnished then no deduction below minimum wage would be allowed.

Examples of  Deductions that are not allowed:  An employer cannot deduct below minimum wage for such things as spoilage or breakage, cash or inventory shortages or losses, fines or penalties for lateness, misconduct, or quitting without notice.

Overtime:  In most instances, overtime must be paid for hours worked beyond forty in a work week.  However, certain employees may be exempt from overtime. Click here to review some common exemptions.  Please review the Administrative Regulations Pertaining to the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act  for additional information on overtime exemptions.  Additionally, some employers, such as police, fire departments, hospitals, and residential care facilities may have special overtime provisions.  Contact the Labor Standards Division at (501) 682-4500 or the U.S. Dept. of Labor (501) 223-9114 for further information.

Compensatory Time:  Public agencies are the only employers that can award compensatory time off in lieu of paying overtime. 

Complaints:  If you believe you are not being paid minimum wage or overtime properly, you can file a complaint here. If you have having trouble collecting your final pay check please do not fill out a complaint form.  Instead, refer to the wage claim section.