Every day, employers in Arkansas force their workers to labor off-the-clock and fail to pay for the entirety of an employees’ hours. Overtime violations are also particularly frequent, as Arkansas businesses cheat their workers out of hard-earned pay through fraudulent wage practices.
Arkansas Wage & Overtime Lawsuits
Wage theft is especially hard on low-wage workers, some of whom are forced to accept sub-minimum wages by unscrupulous employers. It also falls disproportionately on the shoulders of women and workers of color, who studies say are far more likely to be victimized by illicit pay policies.
Employees in Arkansas shouldn’t have to put up with minimum wage and overtime violations. And thanks to state and federal law, you don’t have to. America’s foremost labor law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, allows workers to recover their unpaid wages by filing a lawsuit in civil court. The law even says that most employees who file successful claims are entitled to double their unpaid wages – twice the amount of money that was stolen from you.
National Coalition Of Labor Lawyers
To learn more about your rights and legal options, contact our experienced unpaid overtime attorneys today. While the lawyers at WageAdvocates.com aren’t admitted to practice law in Arkansas, we collaborate with a nationwide coalition of wage and hour attorneys who can help workers anywhere in the United States, including Arkansas.
Even better, our lawyers only offer their services on a contingency-fee basis – you owe us nothing until we secure compensation in your claim. There’s absolutely no downside to learning more, since we offer consultations at absolutely no charge and no obligation. Just call us today or fill out our online contact form to get started.
Minimum Wage In Arkansas
The 2018 minimum wage in Arkansas is $8.50 per hour, which is higher than the national rate of $7.25 set by federal law. Employees in Arkansas are entitled to the higher of these two rates in all cases. Most workers in the State must be paid at least $8.50 per hour, although exceptions exist for some occupations (like employees at small newspapers and babysitters), student employees and workers who frequently make tips. The law applies to all businesses with four or more employees, so extremely-small companies may be exempt from the requirement.
Legal Tip Credits
Where tipped workers are concerned, Arkansas takes its lead from the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Arkansas Department of Labor reports, referencing a federal law that governs minimum wage and overtime requirements on a national basis. Under this law, employers in Arkansas are allowed to pay their tipped employees a sub-minimum wage – less than $8.50 per hour in cash. To do so legally, your employer has to take the correct “tip credit,” and the amount of this tip credit depends entirely on how much you made in tips during the week in question.
Let’s say you made $60 in tips while working 40 hours at a restaurant one week. We’ll need to convert that weekly tip total into an hourly rate, by dividing $60 by 40 hours, to get an hourly wage in tips of $1.50. Since you made over $30 in tips (and usually do just as well), your employer can classify you as a tipped employee and take a tip credit equal to your hourly wage in tips.
If you didn’t make enough tips, your employer would have to pay you $8.50 per hour of work. But since you made $1.50 every hour in tips, your employer can reduce your cash wage by that same amount, subtracting $1.50 from $8.50. Your cash wage for the week would then be $7.50. Multiplied by the hours you worked (40), your employer would owe you $280 in wages at the end of the week.
The most important thing to remember, though, is that when your cash wages and tips are combined, they equal out to the hourly minimum wage set by Arkansas State law. That’s absolutely essential. If your hourly tip rate, plus your cash wage, fall below the Arkansas minimum wage, your employer isn’t paying you properly. In fact, they’re stealing from you, because you’re entitled to at least the minimum wage by State and federal law.
There’s also a limit to the tip credit employers can take. At the least, employers must pay their tipped workers $2.63 per hour. In Arkansas, that’s equivalent to an employer taking a tip credit of $5.87. In other words, $5.87 is the maximum tip credit an employer can take before breaking the law. And it’s only possible if you make at least $5.87 in tips per hour during the pay period.
Arkansas Overtime Laws
Arkansas’ overtime law is almost identical to the federal law contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Most workers become entitled to overtime wages (paid at time-and-a-half, or 1.5-times your regular rate) for any hours worked over 40 in a single workweek. So if you usually make $12 an hour, your overtime wage will be $18 per hour.
The Fair Labor Standards Act covers the vast majority of American workers, but some specific occupations have been left out. Agriculture, still Arkansas’ largest industry, is one of them. Farmworkers, in general, are not entitled to overtime compensation. Another category of exceptions is broad, relating to so-called “white collar” workers.
White Collar Exemptions
To be classified under one of these white collar exemptions, an employee must make a salary of at least $23,660 per year and perform “executive,” “administrative,” or “professional” duties. Each of those words has a specific statutory meaning. You can learn more about white collar exemptions here.
No Daily Overtime
Arkansas doesn’t have a law that requires overtime to be paid after the 8th hour of work in a single day. Nor does the State mandate premium wages for holidays, weekends or any other special occasion. Any overtime wages offered beyond the federal weekly standard we described above are a matter of negotiation between employer and employee.
Speak To An Arkansas Wage & Hour Attorney
Needless to say, the laws we’ve discussed here aren’t always followed properly. Some employers violate Arkansas’ wage and hour laws by mistake; others do so intentionally, hoping to increase profits by short-changing employees. In either case, wage theft is illegal. But workers have a remedy.
Alongside Arkansas State law, the Fair Labor Standards Act empowers employees to win back the money they’ve lost through fraudulent employer practices. These protections apply equally to documented and undocumented workers. An employee’s immigration status is irrelevant for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In short, undocumented workers can recover unpaid wages by filing an overtime lawsuit, just as documented employees can. To get more information about case eligibility, contact our experienced attorneys today for a free consultation.