Child Labor Laws in Arkansas

Arkansas has child labor laws designed to protect young workers from exploitation and ensure that they have access to education and other opportunities for personal and professional development.

If you are an employer in Arkansas, it is important to understand these laws and ensure that you are in compliance with them. Keep in mind that there are exceptions and caveats to many of the general rules outlined herein.

Minimum Age for Employment

In Arkansas, the minimum age for employment is generally 14.  Employers who hire workers under the age of 16 must obtain a work permit from the Arkansas Department of Labor, and there are certain types of jobs that a minor under 16 cannot perform. Employees who are 16 or 17 years old do not require a permit but there are some restrictions on the hours that they may work.

Work Hours and Restrictions

A child under sixteen cannot be employed:

  • More than six days in any week
  • More than forty-eight hours in any week
  • More than eight hours in any day
  • Before 6:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m., except that on nights preceding nonschool days, they may work until 9:00 p.m.

A child under the age of seventeen cannot be employed:

  • more than six (6) days in any week;
  • more than fifty-four (54) hours in any week;
  • more than ten (10) consecutive hours in any day;
  • more than ten (10) hours in a twenty-four hour period; or
  • before 6:00 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m., except that children ages sixteen (16) years may be employed until 12:00 midnight on nights preceding nonschool days.

Enforcement and Penalties

Employers who violate child labor laws in Arkansas may be subject to penalties, including monetary fines.

Ensuring Compliance

To ensure compliance with Arkansas child labor laws, employers should familiarize themselves with the specific requirements and restrictions that apply to young workers before hiring a minor. Employers should also maintain accurate records of hours worked by minors and obtain any required work permits. Employers should consult the guidance issued by the Arkansas Department of Labor ( and/or an attorney.