Arkansas Overtime Law Guide

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Firstly, Arkansas overtime laws protect employees from exploitation by their employers. Specifically, employees who work more than 40 hours per week receive overtime pay at one and a half times (1.5x) their regular hourly rate for each additional hour worked. Therefore, with the regular minimum wage in Arkansas set at $11 per hour, the minimum overtime rate is $16.50 per hour.

Arkansas ensures employees are fairly compensated for extra hours worked. Consequently, understanding these laws helps you protect your rights and take action if your employer owes you overtime pay.

Rate and Calculation

In Arkansas, the overtime pay rate is one and a half times (1.5x) your regular hourly rate. You qualify for overtime pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Furthermore, Arkansas overtime laws require overtime pay for non-exempt employees.

Additionally, employees earning less than $684 per week ($35,568 annually) in non-exempt industries receive overtime pay. However, eligibility for overtime pay depends on your specific job duties and the type of business you work in.

For instance, here’s an example calculation: If your regular hourly rate is $12 and you work 50 hours in a week, calculate as follows:

  • Regular pay for 40 hours: 40 x $12 = $480
  • Overtime pay for 10 hours: 10 x ($12 x 1.5) = 10 x $18 = $180
  • Total pay for the week: $480 + $180 = $660

Who Is Entitled to Overtime Pay?

Most employees in Arkansas are entitled to overtime pay. Specifically, key factors determining eligibility include:

  • Hourly Employees: All hourly employees qualify for overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week.
  • Non-Exempt Salaried Employees: Therefore, salaried employees may be eligible if they do not meet exemption criteria, such as earning below a certain salary threshold and performing non-exempt job duties.

Exemptions and Exceptions

In Arkansas, some employees are exempt from overtime pay under federal and state labor laws. Therefore, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) entitles non-exempt employees to overtime compensation, while exempt employees do not receive this benefit.

General Criteria for Exemption:

  • Salary Threshold: Earn a monthly salary of at least twice the Arkansas minimum wage for full-time employment.
  • Nature of Work: The job involves duties in creative, intellectual, or managerial fields.
  • Discretion and Judgment: The role requires the use of discretion and independent judgment.

Specific Exempt Professions:

  • Commissioned Employees: Earn most of their income from commissions.
  • Administrative Employees: Involved in administrative tasks related to management policies or general business operations.
  • Executives: Manage at least two other employees and have authority over hiring and firing decisions.
  • Computer Professionals: Work in programming, systems analysis, or software engineering.
  • Teachers: Educators in private schools.
  • Outside Salespeople: Regularly work away from the employer’s business selling products or services.

Union employees do not qualify for standard overtime provisions. Additionally, their unions negotiate different overtime rates.

Compensatory Time

In Arkansas, only public employers can offer compensatory time (“comp time”) to their non-exempt employees for overtime hours worked. Consequently, employees earn comp time at a rate of one and a half times the number of overtime hours worked.

There are two categories of non-exempt employees:

  1. Regular 40-Hour Workweek Employees
  2. Employees with Pre-Established Work Periods: Ranging from 7 to 28 days (including seasonal, fire protection, and law enforcement roles)

In addition, when a public agency opts to provide comp time instead of cash for overtime, the following rules apply:

  • Seasonal Employees: Can accrue up to 240 hours of compensatory time off.
  • Fire Protection and Law Enforcement Employees: Can accrue up to 480 hours of compensatory time off.

If an employee exceeds these accrual limits, they receive compensation in cash for any additional overtime hours.

Overtime for Tipped Employees

In Arkansas, tipped employees receive 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for every overtime hour worked. However, tipped employees are subject to a lower minimum wage of $2.63 per hour instead of the regular state minimum wage.

Employers use a “tip credit” system, which allows them to pay tipped employees the reduced minimum wage of $2.63. Moreover, tipped workers must earn enough tips to reach the standard tipped minimum wage of $11.00 per hour. If the combined total of their hourly wage and tips falls below the minimum wage, the employer must compensate for the shortfall.

Nevertheless, employers cannot use the tip credit when calculating overtime pay. Therefore, consider the full minimum wage amount when determining overtime compensation.

Salaried Employees

In Arkansas, certain salaried employees are eligible for overtime pay. These employees receive a set salary regardless of the actual hours worked. If they work beyond the hours their salary covers, they receive additional compensation for the extra hours. To calculate a salaried employee’s overtime rate, employers must first determine the employee’s hourly rate. Divide the salary by the number of hours the salary is intended to cover. Next, calculate the overtime rate using this formula:

  • Hourly pay rate x Overtime Hours x 1.5 (Overtime Rate)

It’s important to note:

  • If the salary covers less than 40 hours in a workweek, the regular rate applies for hours up to 40. Only hours beyond 40 will be paid at time-and-a-half.
  • If the salary covers 40 hours in a workweek, time-and-a-half will be paid for any hours worked over 40.

Calculating Overtime with Commission

In Arkansas, employees who earn commissions receive overtime pay, though the calculation method may differ. Therefore, when an employee receives weekly commissions, the commission amount is added to their weekly wage to determine total earnings for the week. Divide the total by the number of hours worked to find the regular hourly rate. For hours worked beyond 40 per week, the employee must receive additional compensation at half of this regular hourly rate.

For example, here’s an example calculation: Suppose an employee works 45 hours a week at $11 per hour (Arkansas minimum wage) and earns $50 in commissions for that week.

  • Calculate total earnings: (45×11) + 50 = 545
  • Divide total earnings by total hours worked: 545 ÷ 45 = 12.11
  • The regular hourly rate is $12.11.
  • Determine the overtime rate (half of the regular hourly rate): 12.11 ÷ 2 = 6.06
  • Calculate overtime compensation for 5 extra hours worked: 6.06 × 5 = 30.30

The overtime compensation for the extra 5 hours is $30.30. The total will vary based on hours worked, the hourly rate, and commissions earned.

Important Considerations

Employers must classify employees correctly as exempt or non-exempt. If in doubt, the default classification should be non-exempt to ensure compliance with overtime laws.

Steps to Take if You Believe You Are Owed Back Pay

If you believe you are owed back overtime pay, act promptly. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Keep detailed records of your work hours and any communications with your employer regarding overtime.
  • Ensure your job classification (exempt vs. non-exempt) is correct.
  • Discuss your concerns with your employer or HR department.
  • If your employer does not address the issue, file a complaint with the Arkansas Department of Labor.
  • For legal advice, consult an employment attorney specializing in wage and hour laws.

Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Overtime Claims in Arkansas

In Arkansas, employees have two years from the date of the violation to recover unpaid overtime wages. For instance, if an employee files a lawsuit today, they can only seek overtime back wages for the past two years. However, if an employer willfully or knowingly violates overtime regulations, this statute of limitations extends to three years.

Think You Have a Case?

If you believe your employer has violated overtime laws and owes you back pay, contact Lemberg Law for assistance. Our experienced legal team will evaluate your case for free. Call us at 475-277-2200 or complete our online form to get started.

Sergei Lemberg

About the Author:

Sergei Lemberg is an attorney focusing on consumer law, class actions related to automotive issues, and personal injury litigation. With nearly two decades of experience, his areas of practice include Lemon Law (vehicle defects), Debt Collection Harassment, TCPA (illegal robocalls and texts), Fair Credit Reporting Act, Overtime claims, Personal Injury cases, and Class Actions. He has consistently been recognized as the nation's "most active consumer attorney." In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Duguid v. Facebook. He is also the author of "Defanging Debt Collectors," a guide that empowers consumers to fight back against debt collectors and prevail, as well as "Lemon Law 101: The Laws That Lemon Dealers Don't Want You to Know."

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  • Stephenie

    Can my employer require me to work overtime in Arkansas

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