Workforce Services

Employer UI Contributions

Arkansas State Unemployment Tax

The payment of state unemployment insurance was introduced in 1935 to help provide economic security for the unemployed worker who had become unemployed through no fault of his own. Each state has its own laws, and operates its own program.

An Arkansas state unemployment account (SUTA) is required of any entity meeting the definition of an employer. As described by Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Law, the definition of an employer includes, but is not limited to, a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, associations, trust, estate, and receiver or trustee in bankruptcy. The entity must have in employment one (1) or more individuals for some portion of ten (10) or more days in a calendar year, whether or not the days are consecutive.

Exempt Services

All employees are considered covered under the Arkansas unemployment insurance law, unless their service is specifically excluded in the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Law. Some examples of the most common types of services exempt from payment of unemployment insurance taxes are:

  • Services performed by a minor child (under the age of twenty-one years of age), the spouse, or the parents of a business operating as a sole proprietorship.
  • Service performed as an insurance or real estate agent, if payment is made solely by commission.
  • Service performed in the employ of a church or an association of churches.
  • Service performed in the area of domestic services (household help or in-home caregivers) are exempt from payment of unemployment insurance if the payments for all services of all domestic help total under one thousand dollars each calendar quarter. If payments to domestic employees meet or exceed one thousand dollars in any calendar quarter of a year, the employer is liable for payment of unemployment insurance for all wages paid in the entire calendar year and following calendar year, as well.
  • Services performed in agricultural employment are exempt if the total of all wages paid for agricultural services is less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) in a calendar quarter and if the employer does not employ ten (10) or more workers in twenty (20) calendar weeks of the year. These weeks do not have to be consecutive. If all the agricultural wages an employer pays meet or exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) in a calendar quarter, or if total employment is ten (10) or more workers in twenty (20) calendar weeks, the employer is liable for payment of state unemployment tax for the entire calendar year and the following calendar year.

Other exempt services are identified in the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Law; however, if the service is not specifically exempt, it is covered by state unemployment insurance.

Wages

The term “wages” is defined as all remuneration paid for personal services including salaries (this includes corporation officers salaries), commissions, bonuses, fees, fringe benefits, sick pay made directly to employee or dependents, deferred compensation and tips reported to an employer by his employees.

Rates

Arkansas unemployment insurance tax rates currently range from 0.1% to a maximum rate of 5.0%, plus the stabilization rate in effect for the current year. The upper range indicates that more payments in unemployment insurance have been made from an employer’s account than tax has been paid in for unemployment insurance.  Act 1191provides that beginning January 1, 2014, and thereafter, after two (2) consecutive years of being assessed additional contributions of four percent (4.0%), the additional contribution assessment shall increase to six percent (6.0%) for a basic rate of 12.0%.  Furthermore, after two (2) consecutive years of being assessed an additional contribution of six percent (6.0%), the additional contribution assessment shall increase to eight percent (8.0%) for a basic rate of 14.0%.

The unemployment insurance tax is computed on the wages paid to each employee on a calendar quarter basis. The current taxable wage base that Arkansas employers are required by law to pay unemployment insurance tax on is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per employee, per calendar year. In calendar year 2017, a new employer just beginning business in the state of Arkansas, is assigned a new employer rate of 3.2%, and will remain at that rate until three (3) full years of benefit risk have been established. When an employer acquires an ongoing business location that was required to pay unemployment insurance taxes in Arkansas, that employer’s rate may be transferred to the employer acquiring the business. When an entire business is acquired, and its operation is continued, the tax rate from the previous owner will be assigned to the new owner.

Payment of Benefits

Unemployment insurance benefits are paid to individuals who have become unemployed, and have been determined to be eligible for payment of benefits under the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services laws. A claimant’s unemployment insurance weekly benefit amount is determined by the wages that individual has earned in approximately the last eighteen (18) months preceding the filing of the unemployment insurance claim.

Each tax rated employer’s account is then charged, according to its percentage share of the total wages paid to the worker in the base period. The base period is defined as: the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the filing of an unemployment insurance claim.

Employers are notified immediately by mail when a claim is filed if they are the last employer, and quarterly, if they are the base period employer.

Workers filing claims for unemployment insurance benefits must first be determined eligible for receipt of these benefits before any payments are made. Once their eligibility is determined, they must continue to meet certain criteria, some of which are:

Any earnings, holiday pay, vacation pay, military drill pay or self-employment must be reported for the week in which benefits are requested.

  • Claimant must be able and available to work during each day of the week.
  • Claimant must not refuse a referral to or an offer of suitable work.
  • Claimant must make the required job contacts each week.

Website

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Law book is located within the For Employer section of the DWS website. The liability documents to establish and terminate an unemployment insurance tax account, wage adjustment forms and blank reporting forms can be found within the For Employer section under UI Employer Forms.

Contact Information

Division of Workforce Services
Phone
501-682-2121
Street
2 Capitol Mall Little Rock, AR 72201
Mailing
P.O. Box 2981 Little Rock, AR 72203
Phone
501-682-1970
Street
1 Commerce Way Little Rock, AR 72202
Phone
501-296-1600
Toll-Free
1-800-330-0632
Fax
501-296-1141
Street
1 Commerce Way Little Rock, AR 72202
Phone
501-682-5463
Toll-Free
1-800-960-9270
Fax
501-682-0366
Street
1 Commerce Way Little Rock, AR 72202
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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FROM THE ARKANSAS DIVISION OF WORKFORCE SERVICES​

Are you hiring?

Send us your job orders! We will post your jobs on Arkansas JobLink, our free online job board. Then we'll work to find candidates that meet your qualifications and send them your way. We can also help you meet qualified candidates at hiring events and job fairs tailored to your company’s needs; we can come to you or host the event at one of our many office locations! Contact your local business services coordinator to learn more!

Looking for a job?

Visit Arkansas JobLink and set up your job-seeker account to create and post resumes, search for jobs and training opportunities, receive notifications when certain jobs are posted, and learn about upcoming hiring events!

Whether you are unemployed and searching for work, or looking to increase your skillset to further your career, we can help. Visit an Arkansas Workforce Center to meet with a career counselor, get help with job search and applications, learn about training opportunities, get certified as "work-ready", and more. We can provide services and connect you to resources that will help you achieve your employment and career goals.

Request a Mobile Workforce Center

The Division of Workforce Services operates five Mobile Workforce Center RVs and two mini Mobile Workforce Centers. Click here to request one for your next event or anytime you need DWS services onsite.

Unemployment claims

To file an unemployment claim, please visit EZARC.ADWS.Arkansas.gov. Questions about unemployment insurance claims may be directed to the UI Hotline: 1-844-908-2178.

ADWS provides interpretation and translation services, at no cost, for clients who need assistance in accessing and participating in available services and programs. To request an interpreter or translator, please contact your nearest local office. 

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