Wage and hour laws are regulations that are in place to dictate how much an employee is paid and the conditions of his or her employment. There are both state and federal laws that set forth the guidelines for minimum wages, paying employees overtime and providing meal breaks and paid time off. Employers must have an understanding of these laws so that they do not find themselves in violation.
Minimum Wage in Kentucky
The minimum wage in Kentucky is $7.25 per hour. This is also the current federal minimum wage.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Workers in Kentucky who receive more than $30 per month in tips may be paid the federal tipped employee minimum wage of $2.13 per hour. However, the employee’s wages combined with their tips must equal the state minimum wage.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Most employers in Kentucky are subject to minimum wage requirements. Some employees, such those employed by retail stores, hotels and restaurants whose annual sales are under a certain amount, may be exempt from the minimum wage under state law. Federal law provides for exemptions to the minimum wage for some workers such as executives, agricultural workers, outside salesmen, computer professionals and seasonal workers. Employers should contact the Kentucky Labor Cabinet for more information on minimum wage requirements.
When Are Raises Required: There are no federal or state laws governing how or when Kentucky employers should give their employees raises. In general, employers give raises at their discretion and for reasons of their choosing.
Work Hours in Kentucky
It is up to the employer to decide how many hours an employee will work. There are no state or federal laws prohibiting the number of hours an employee can work, and an employer can change an employee’s hours at any time.
Paying Overtime: In Kentucky, employers are required to pay an employee overtime wages for any hours the employee worked that exceed 40 hours in one workweek. This is true for both hourly and salaried employees. The overtime rate shall be 1.5 times the employee’s normal hourly rate. Certain types of employees are exempt from overtime requirements, including executives and other professionals, some retail workers, hotel and restaurant workers, full-time caregivers and some government employees.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Kentucky workers are entitled to an unpaid meal break lasting a reasonable period. The break should take place between the third and fifth hours of the employee’s work shift. Employees are also entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked, with the exception of certain railroad employees. Federal law allows a nursing mother to take reasonable breaks in order to express milk for up to one year following her baby’s birth.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: Kentucky law does not require employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave. There is also no law in place requiring employees to be given vacation time. Such time off is considered a benefit and can be negotiated between the employer and the employee. Once sick leave or vacation is agreed upon, however, the employer is bound to provide it.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: No notice is required under Kentucky law for an employer to terminate a worker. Unless the terms of an agreement or employment contract state that the employer must give notice, an employer can terminate an employee at any time, for any reason.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: Workers in Kentucky are protected under federal law, which allows for 60 days’ notice in the event of a plant closing or mass layoff. This law applies to companies with at least 100 full-time employees and at least 100 workers whose work hours total 4,000 per week when combined.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.