Facts Arkansas Workers Should Know

Wages and Hours Worked:

  • Federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt workers is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.  Federal law covers certain businesses or organizations that have an annual dollar volume of sales of at least $500,000, as well as hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and preschools, and government agencies.  Additionally, even if the business is not covered, an individual employee may be protected by federal minimum wage law if that employee is engaged in interstate commerce.

  • State minimum wage is $8.00 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. The minimum cash wage for tipped employees in Arkansas is $2.63 per hour as long as tips added to that bring the wage up to the applicable minimum wage rate.

  • Overtime is required under both state and federal law with only some exceptions.  Overtime must be paid at the rate of one and one-half (1 ½) times the employee’s “regular rate” of pay.

  • Neither state nor federal law requires an employer to provide a break or a meal period.  Breaks of less than 20 minutes are considered work time, and the employer must pay covered employees for those breaks.

  • Specific sections of both state and federal law, exempt certain employees from minimum wage and overtime or overtime only.  If you have a question concerning exemptions, you may contact the appropriate wage and hour office.
  • Workers who are fired by a corporation must be paid their last paycheck within seven days of being fired, if demanded.  In all other cases, payment must be made at the regularly scheduled payday.

  • If an employer owes an unpaid last paycheck of less than $2,000 to a worker, the worker may file a wage claim with the Arkansas Department of Labor. This is also true for independent contractors. If they are owed less than $5,000, workers may file suit in Small Claims Court without an attorney.

  • Employers may NOT charge workers for medical tests or drug screens that they require them to take.

  • Employers may NOT require employees to have their checks direct deposited into a bank account. The worker has the right to refuse to use direct deposit. He may do so by giving the employer a written and signed letter that says the worker does not want direct deposit.


  • Employers having three or more employees should have workers' compensation coverage in case of injury in the workplace. Workers wanting to make a claim for on-the-job injuries should contact the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission at 501-682-3930.
  • Workers who are laid off or terminated may be able to collect unemployment benefits. To file for unemployment benefits, workers should contact the Arkansas Workforce Services local office for assistance.
  • Discrimination:

    • State and federal law both make it illegal to treat employees differently because of age, sex, race, religion, national origin, or disability. Rights under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act are enforced by private lawsuit and workers who have been discriminated against should see a private attorney. Rights under the federal Civil Rights Act are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That number is 501-324-5060.

    • Pregnant workers are also protected from discrimination by law. For information on this law or to file a complaint, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 501-324-5060.
    • Workers cannot be denied a job because they are a member or are not a member of a labor union. Workers who feel they have been denied a job because of their union membership or non-membership, should contact an attorney for assistance.  

    Where to Go for Help

    For Help Collecting a Last Paycheck:
    Arkansas Department of Labor
    10421 West Markham
    Little Rock, AR 72205
    (501) 682-4500

    To Report Safety Problems at Work:
    U.S. Department of Labor
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    10810 Executive Center Drive
    Danville Building, Suite 206
    Little Rock, AR 72211
    (501) 224-1841

    For Help When You’ve Been Injured On The Job:
    Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission
    324 Spring Street
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    (501) 682-3930

    For Help With Unemployment Benefits:
    Arkansas Department of Workforce Services
    Information Desk
    #2 Capitol Mall
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    (501) 682-2121

    For Help Finding An Attorney:
    Arkansas Bar Association
    400 West Markham
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    (501) 375-4606

    For low income workers:
    Arkansas Legal Services
    303 West Capitol Avenue
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    (501) 376-3423

    For Help With Worker Education: 
    Department of Career Education
    Luther Hardin Building Three Capitol Mall
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    (501) 682-1500

    For Migrant Worker Protection:
    United States Department of Labor
    Employment Standards Administration
    Danville Building
    10810 Executive Ct. Dr., Ste. 220
    Little Rock, AR 72211
    (501) 223-9114

    For Help With Minimum Wage and Overtime:
    Arkansas Department of Labor
    10421 West Markham
    Little Rock, AR 72205
    (501) 682-4500

    United States Department of Labor:
    Employment Standards Admin.
    Wage and Hour Division
    Danville Building II
    10810 Executive Center Dr, Ste. 220
    Little Rock, AR 72211
    (501) 223-9114

    For Alien Certification:
    Arkansas Department of Workforce Services
    Alien Labor Certification Section
    #2 Capitol Mall
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    (501) 682-3129

    For Help with Racial, Gender, National Origin, Religious,
    Disability or Pregnancy Discrimination:
    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    820 S. Louisiana, Suite 200
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    (501) 324-5060

    For Help with Family Medical Leave:
    United States Department of Labor
    Danville Building
    10810 Executive Ct. Dr., Suite 220
    Little Rock, AR 72211
    (501) 223-9114

    For Help with Union Issues:
    National Labor Relations Board
    Brinkley Plaza Building
    80 Monroe Avenue, Suite 350
    Memphis, TN 38103

    For Help with Income Tax
    Withholding Problems:
    Internal Revenue Service
    1-800-829-1040 or
    to report fraud: 1-800-829-0433

    Helpful Websites: