Virtually all employers in Arkansas must provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Employers are covered if they have at least three employees, except in building-repair work, where coverage extends to employers of two or more, and in the case of subcontractors, who are covered even if they employ only one person. Most public employees are covered. Volunteer firefighters are covered as employees of the county or municipality that they serve. Subcontractors are responsible for providing their own coverage, but the principal contractor is liable if the subcontractor fails to provide coverage.
A few categories of employment are specifically exempted from coverage:
• Employees of public charities
• Vendors of newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals
• Maintenance, gardening, or repair employees working in or about the employer's private home
• Casual labor employed outside the usual course of the employer's business
• Qualified real estate agents as defined by the Internal Revenue Code
• Individuals performing services while incarcerated or pursuant to a conviction (although their spouses or minor children may petition for their benefits)
• Certain “direct sellers” of consumer products
Employers that are not obligated to provide coverage may elect to be covered under the Workers' Compensation Act, thereby gaining immunity from other legal actions. Sole proprietors or partners may file for exclusion from coverage.