Kentucky Leave Laws




Vacation Leave

In Kentucky, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. KY Office of Workplace Standards FAQs. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. See Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271 (Kent. Sup. Ct. 2001).

An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. See Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271 (Kent. Sup. Ct. 2001).



An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271 (Kent. Sup. Ct. 2001).

An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271 (Kent. Sup. Ct. 2001).

An employer is not required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter. See Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271 (Kent. Sup. Ct. 2001).

An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time. See Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271 (Kent. Sup. Ct. 2001).

An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it. See Berrier v. Bizer, 57 S.W.3d 271 (Kent. Sup. Ct. 2001).



Sick Leave

Kentucky law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. An employer in Kentucky may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.



Holiday Leave

Kentucky law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. KY Office of Workplace Standards FAQs In Kentucky, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

State holidays

Visit our Kentucky State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Kentucky as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.



Jury Duty Leave

An employer is not required to pay an employee for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.

An employer may not discharge, penalize, threaten, or otherwise coerce an employee who receives and/or responds to a jury summons or who serves on a jury.

Kentucky Stat. 29A.160



Voting Leave

Kentucky law requires employers to provide employees with at least four (4) hours of time off to vote or to obtain an absentee ballot. The law prohibits an employer from penalizing an employee for taking time off to vote, unless the employee fails to vote for reasons that were within the employee’s control. The law is not clear whether an employer’s failure to pay an employee for the voting leave constitutes a “penalty” as intended by the law. To be eligible for voting leave, an employee must request the leave at least one day prior to the date the leave will be taken. The employer may specify which hours the employee can take off.

Also, an employer must permit an employee to take time off to train and serve as an election officer. The employer may specify which hours the employee can be absent from work to train or serve as an election officer, to the extend possible. Kentucky Stat. 118.035



Bereavement Leave

Kentucky law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.