Arkansas Law Update

Minimum Wage Act

On April 10, 2019, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed legislation (H.B. 1751) amending the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act as follows:

·         Repealing Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-204, law most favorable to employees applicable.

·         Amending Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-213, allowance for furnishing board, lodging, apparel, etc. as follows:

·         Certain employers are entitled to an allowance for the reasonable value of board, lodging, apparel, or other items and services provided by the employer as part of an employee’s hourly wage rate. This allowance is now permitted in an amount up to the fair and reasonable cost of the board, lodging, apparel, or other items and services.

·         The determination of reasonable cost of the board, lodging, apparel, or other items and services will be based on federal law (at 29 U.S.C. § 203(m), as it existed on January 1, 2019, and 29 C.F.R. § 531).

·         Amending Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-218(a)(2), concerning an employee’s remedies when an employer violates the wage and hour provisions: An employee may be awarded an additional amount as liquidated damages if he or she proves the employer’s violation was willful.

·         Adding a subdivision to Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-218(e), concerning an employee’s cause of action as follows: An employee will not become a party-plaintiff to an action unless he or she gives written consent and files it in the court where the action is brought.

·         Adding a subsection to Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-218, concerning an employee’s remedies as follows: The statute of limitations for causes of action is two years.

·         Adding a subsection to Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-403, concerning payment by evidence of indebtedness as follows: It is lawful for an employer to pay its employees by automatic deposit or by providing a debit card preloaded with the amount of wages. If wages are paid by providing a preloaded debit card, then at least one free withdrawal must available for the funds for each deposit of wages loaded onto the debit card.

·         Amending Ark. Code Ann. § 11-4-405, regarding payment upon discharge as follows: An employer that discharges an employee is required to pay all wages due by the next regular payday. An employer that fails to make this payment within seven days of the next regular payday owes the employee double the wages due.

The law is effective August 10, 2019.

Read AR H.B. 1751

Employees and Forced Human Microchips

On March 19, 2019, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed legislation (H.B. 1177) to protect employees from forced human microchip implantation. Under the law, employers must not:

·         Ask on an employment application, or inquire during an interview, if a prospective employee will consent to having a microchip implanted in his or her body.

·         Require an employee to have a microchip implanted in his or her body as a condition of employment.

·         Coerce an employee into consenting to have a microchip implanted in his or her body.

·         Create a hostile work environment for an employee who does not consent to having a microchip implanted in his or her body.

·         Withhold advancement within the company from an employee who does not consent to having a microchip implanted in his or her body.

·         Withhold a salary or wage increase from an employee who does not consent to having a microchip implanted in his or her body.

·         Dismiss an employee based on his or her decision to not consent to having a microchip implanted in his or her body.

 

 

 

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee who does not consent to having a microchip implanted in his or her body. However, at the employer’s request, a microchip may be implanted in an employee’s body if the employee provides written consent to it. An employee may request removal of the microchip at any time.

The law also provides specifics as to employer responsibilities upon implementation of an implant, retention of the microchip, and the option to use alternative noninvasive technology to track an employee’s movement.

The law is effective August 9, 2019.

Read AR H.B. 1177

ArkansasAmanda S