Arkansas' Minimum Wage to Increase Jan. 1, 2020
The second of three required increases to Arkansas' minimum wage takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, bumping the state's minimum wage from $9.25 per hour to $10 per hour.
By a vote of 605,784 in favor and 279,046 against, Arkansas voters in 2018 approved the state law raising the minimum wage gradually from $8.50 per hour to $11 in 2021.
In 2019, minimum wage rates in at least 19 other states and Washington, D.C., increased, according to Ballotpedia, an online encyclopedia about politics and elections. The organization's review showed that more than 59% of the country's population live in a state with a minimum wage rate above the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. More than 32% of people are in a state with a rate of at least $10.10 per hour.
Arkansas will be one of 21 states across the country to increase the minimum wage in 2020. However, states surrounding Arkansas (excluding Missouri) follow the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. Missouri voters also approved a minimum wage increase in 2018, increasing that rate each year until eventually reaching $12 per hour in 2023.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 542,000 workers earned the federal minimum wage in 2017. About 1.3 million workers had wages below the federal rate. Combined, those 1.8 million workers made up 2.3% of all hourly paid workers.
Arkansas' minimum wage requirements apply to employers with four our more employees in industries that are not exempt by state law. For example, some agricultural activities and newspapers with a small circulation are exempt from minimum wage rate requirements. Also, allowances are made for gratuities (tips) to be part of the hourly minimum wage rate for occupations in which gratuities are customary.
Arkansas' tip law did not change. Arkansas' Department of Labor says tipped employees "must still be paid a minimum of $2.63 per hour and tips must be sufficient to raise the employee to the applicable minimum wage rate." (Find more info from the Department of Labor here).