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Other Leaves: Arkansas

Other Leaves requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: E. B. Chiles IV, Cameron C. McCree and Amber Davis-Tanner, Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow, PLLC

Summary

  • There are various types of leave that may be available to an employee in Arkansas. See Leaves of Absence.
  • Arkansas does not have a state family and medical leave law applicable to private employers. See Family and Medical Leave.
  • If an employer provides maternity or paternity time off to biological parents it must, upon request, make the same time off available to employees who adopt a child. See Adoption Leave.
  • An employer must provide unpaid leave to any employee who provides a written request for organ or bone marrow donor leave. See Bone Marrow and Organ Donor Leave.
  • An employer cannot terminate an employee who is a crime victim who, under certain circumstances, takes leave to attend a criminal proceeding. See Crime Victim Leave.
  • An employer may not discriminate against an employee for serving on a jury duty. See Jury Duty Leave.
  • An Arkansas employer must schedule the work of employees on election days so to permit the opportunity to take an unpaid leave in order to vote. See Voting Leave.
  • An employee called to active state duty as a member of the armed forces of Arkansas or any other state has the same employment and reemployment rights as if the employee was called to active duty in the service of the US. See Military Leave.

Leaves of Absence

There are various types of leave that may be available to an employee in Arkansas. To the extent that applicable federal, state or local laws conflict, an employer should apply the provisions that provide the greatest benefits and protections to the employee.

An employer should remain alert to the various types of leave available and take care to track employees' leaves of absence, including:

  • The date the leave begins;
  • The type of leave; and
  • The expected return date.

An employee who exercises leave rights is not protected from discipline for legitimate reasons that are unrelated to the leave and that are not otherwise prohibited by law.

If an employer must discipline an employee who has exercised his or her leave rights, it should carefully document the reasons for the discipline, review past application of the rule (to ensure the policy is being enforced evenhandedly), and consider whether to seek the advice of counsel before imposing the discipline.

Family and Medical Leave

Arkansas does not have a state family and medical leave law applicable to private employers. However, an Arkansas employer with 50 or more employees is likely required to adhere to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Adoption Leave

If an employer provides maternity or paternity time off to biological parents it must, upon request, make the same time off available to employees who adopt a child. If an employee requests additional leave due to the adoption of an ill child or child with a disability, such requests must be considered on the same basis as comparable cases of complications accompanying the birth of a child. For more information on adoptive parents leave, please see FMLA: Arkansas.

Bone Marrow and Organ Donor Leave

An employer must provide an unpaid leave to any employee who provides a written request for a leave in order to serve as an bone marrow or organ donation leave.

The leave must equal the time period requested by the employee, or 90 days, whichever amount of time is less.

An employer can agree to pay an employee the employee's regular wages during their leave and can agree to grant additional time over the 90 days. If an employer agrees to pay an employee, the employer is entitled to a credit against Arkansas withholding tax liability equal to 25 percent of the regular salary or wages paid to the employee while on leave. The credit must be taken within one year of the date upon which the leave began.

The right to an unpaid leave for bone marrow or organ donation does not apply if an employee is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. +A.C.A. § 11-3-205.

An employer should consider including a bone marrow or organ donation leave policy in its handbook to educate employees, including supervisors, about the availability of bone marrow or organ donation leave and to show its compliance with Arkansas law.

Crime Victim Leave

An employer may not terminate or discipline an employee who is a victim of a crime (including a sex offense) or a representative of the crime victim who:

  • Upon request of the prosecuting attorney, participates in the preparation for a criminal proceeding; or
  • Attends a criminal proceeding, when his or her attendance is reasonably necessary to protect the victim's interests.

+A.C.A. § 16-90-1105.

A victim's representative may include the victim's family member (spouse, child by birth or adoption, stepchild, parent, stepparent or sibling) or a person designated by the victim or by the court. +A.C.A. § 16-90-1101(2); +A.C.A. § 16-90-1101(5).

An employer does not need to pay an employee for leave to attend such criminal proceedings.

An employee who is responsible for a crime is not eligible for crime victim leave.

An employer should consider including a crime victim leave policy in its handbook to educate employees, including supervisors, about the availability of crime victim leave and to show its compliance with Arkansas law.

Jury Duty Leave

An Arkansas employer may not discriminate against an employee who is serving on jury duty, which includes, for example, termination from employment and loss of vacation or sick time. For more information on jury duty leave please see Jury Duty: Arkansas.

Voting Leave

An Arkansas employer must schedule the work of employees on election days so to permit the opportunity to take an unpaid leave in order to vote. +A.C.A. § 7-1-102.

An employer that fails to provide this leave may be subject to a fine of not less than $25 and no more than $250.

An employer should consider including a voting leave policy in its handbook to educate employees, including supervisors, about the availability of voting leave and to show its compliance with Arkansas law.

Military Leave

An employee who is called to active state duty as a member of the armed forces of Arkansas or any other state, including the National Guard, a reserve component of the armed forces or the militia, has the same employment and reemployment rights, privileges, benefits and protections in employment as if they were called to active duty in the service of the US. For more information on military leave please see USERRA: Arkansas.

Training

Employers should be aware that certain leaves are protected by state law and therefore it should train its supervisory employees not to take action against an employee because he or she took leave or indicated that he or she may take the leave in the near future. See Training and Development: Federal.

Future Developments

There are no developments to report at this time. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.

Additional Resources

Arkansas Supplement: Table of Contents