State minimum wage is about to go up for the third consecutive year. On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Arkansas will increase to $8.50 per hour This is due to the Arkansas Minimum Wage Initiative, Issue 5, a ballot initiative passed by voters in the 2014 general election. It went up by $1.25 in 2015 – from $6.25 to $7.50. In 2016, it rose another 50¢ to $8.00. The first day of 2017, we will hit the target amount of the initiative, raising it another 50¢ to $8.50.
It’s important to not that this only applies to employers who employ four or more employees. For a copy of the Act, click here.
This does not apply to certain workers: tipped employees, casual domestic workers (for example, babysitters and caregivers), employees at small newspapers, federal government employees, and some farm workers from the minimum wage. Special minimum wage rates also apply to full time students, who can be paid as little as 85% of the minimum wage by any employer with a Student Certificate of Eligibility for up to 20 hours a week of part-time work. For information on these exemptions, click here.
Arkansas employers are required to display an approved Arkansas minimum wage poster in a prominent place to inform employees about the minimum wage and their worker’s rights under Arkansas labor law. For information on record-keeping requirements, click here.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and has not increased since July 2009. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) enacted legislation that employees with federal contracts must be paid at least $10.20 per hour, beginning January 1, 2017. Likewise, tipped employees connected to federal contracts must be paid a cash wage of at least $6.80 per hour.
Currently, 29 states, including Arkansas, have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour). When the state minimum wage rate is higher than the federal rate, employers are required to pay non-exempt employees the higher amount.
For more information on state minimum wages, click here.