Arkansas Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under Section 11-4-211 and 11-4-203 of the Arkansas Code Annotated, employment overtime laws apply to employers with four or more employees. Under these code sections, nurses are entitled to pay equal to hourly wages plus one-half of hourly wages for work above 40 hours per week. The definition of “week” is congruent with the federal definition and refers to any seven-day time period.

Arkansas has not enacted any statutes under its Code Annotated with respect to nurse meal or rest breaks. In the absence of a state code section, it is presumed that Arkansas adheres to the federal guidelines which do not require an employer to compensate an employee for time spent on personal breaks or during meal times. Personal breaks may be compensable if agreed upon in the employment contract and usually are to last 5-20 minutes. Meal times, typically 30 minutes or more in duration, are not compensable under Arkansas or federal laws and nurses can only be paid during meal times if such provision appears in the employment contract.
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