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Kristin HigginsPublic Policy CenterPhone: 501-671-2160Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Kristin Higgins - December 12, 2019
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 Laborsays 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."
State Minimum Wage Laws
Minimum Wage on the Ballot
Arkansas' Issue 5 on the 2018 Ballot