Kentucky Labor Laws 2024 | Wage and Hour Laws in Kentucky

Kentucky Labor Laws

Kentucky labor laws, including Kentucky labor laws 2024, impact the daily lives of employees and employers in Kentucky. Residents of Kentucky have many questions that affect them every day regarding Kentucky labor laws from minimum wage rates, overtime, wage payments, vacation and sick leave, child labor, meal and rest breaks, and more.

In addition to Kentucky labor laws, employer must also comply with federal labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and many other federal laws. And when federal laws are different from state Kentucky labor laws, usually companies must comply with the law that provides their workers the best protection.

Below we provide comprehensive information and resources regarding your more pressing Kentucky labor law questions to help you answer the question and help you make the right decision about you and your employment.

Minimum Wage

Kentucky’s current minimum wage is $7.25.

Kentucky labor laws state that the minimum hourly wage must at least equal the minimum hourly wage defined by the federal minimum wage set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Therefore, if the minimum wage in the US increases, so does it in Kentucky. 

Tipped workers in Kentucky who received tips as a part of their pay have a minimum wage of $2.13. Employers can pay tipped employees minimum wage if employees regularly receive more than $30 in tips per month. However, an employer must ensure that an employee earns at least $7.25 per hour in combined wages and tips.

For more information on Kentucky’s minimum wage laws, visit our Kentucky Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

Related topics covered on other pages include:


Kentucky labor laws require employers to pay employees overtime at a rate of 1½ times their regular rate when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, unless otherwise exempt. KY Labor Cabinet – Workplace Standards Regulations.

Kentucky also requires employers to pay employees overtime at the rate of 1½ times their regular rate for all hours worked on the seventh day when an employee works seven (7) days in a workweek. KY Labor Cabinet – Workplace Standards Regulations.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also contains overtime requirements for full-time employees who work more than 40-hours in a workweek. For federally-defined exemptions and other regulations see FLSA: Overtime.

Prevailing Wages

Kentucky does not have a prevailing wage law that governs wage rates on government projects or service contracts.

Under certain circumstances, employers in Kentucky may be required to pay residents wage rates of pay established by federal prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the federal and state’s standard minimum wage rates.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain government services. See the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.

Meals and Breaks

Kentucky labor laws require employers to provide employees with a rest period of at least 10 minutes during each four hours of work. The rest period is a paid break. KY Labor Cabinet – Workplace Standards Regulations.

Employers must also provide a reasonable period for a meal no sooner than the third nor later than the fifth hour of a work shift unless it has mutually agreed with the employee to some other arrangement. (“Reasonable” is not defined by law.) A lunch period does not have to be paid so long as the employee is relieved of all duties during the break. KY Labor Cabinet – Workplace Standards Regulations.

Nursing Mother Breaks

Kentucky labor laws require employers with fifteen (15) or more employees to provide nursing mothers with breaks to express breast milk in private spaces that are not bathrooms. KY Statute 344.030.

Leave Laws

Vacation Leave

Employers in Kentucky do not have to give their employees unpaid or paid vacation benefits. However, if a place of employment provides vacation benefits to their employees, they must adhere to the conditions set out in the employment contract or vacation leave policy.

An employer can create a policy that denies employees payment for accumulated vacation hours upon the end of the contract or end of employment. They may also set specific standards or requirements that may disqualify an employee from being paid for accrued vacation hours. 

If the policy requires it, an employer is legally obligated to pay accrued vacation time. An employer may cap the number of vacation hours an employee can accumulate and establish a use-it or lose-it vacation policy.

Sick Leave

Under Kentucky labor laws, employers are not required to provide sick leave benefits for their employees. This applies to unpaid and paid sick leave. However, Kentucky employers may have to give employees unpaid sick leave according to various federal laws and the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

Holiday Leave

According to Kentucky labor laws, employers do not have to give workers unpaid or paid holiday leave. Moreover, private employers may require their employees to work during holiday hours. 

Private employers are also not required to pay increased pay to their employees for working during holiday hours. Unless these hours coincide with overtime hours according to federal overtime pay laws, this is the case. 

However, if a place of employment provides unpaid or paid holiday benefits, it must adhere to all conditions established in the employment contract or holiday leave policy. Kentucky state holidays apply.

Jury Duty Leave

In Kentucky, an employee may take time off to serve on jury duty, as the law requires it. However, employers do not have to pay employees for responding to a jury summons. Moreover, an employer cannot threaten, coerce, penalize, or discharge an employee who receives a jury summons and serves jury duty.

Voting Leave 

As long as an employee requests time off to vote at least one day before the leave will be taken, an employer is obligated to give an employee time off to vote. However, the law is unclear whether or not this time must be paid. 

Under Kentucky state law, employers may not prohibit their employees from taking time off to vote. There may be legal consequences if employers do not follow these laws.

For more information, here’s a detailed guide.

Severance Pay

Kentucky labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Under certain circumstances, Kentucky residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits.

Workers in Kentucky are eligible for unemployment benefits as long as they earn at least $750 in one of the quarters in the base period. In addition, they must have also earned a minimum of $750 outside of the highest paid quarter of the base period. 

During this base period, a worker must have earned a minimum of 1.5 times their earnings in the highest-paid base quarter. Moreover, the worker’s wages must be at least eight times their weekly amount during the last two quarters. 

A worker must be able and willing to work and actively seek employment to receive unemployment pay in Kentucky. A worker cannot be out of work due to any fault of their own to qualify for unemployment benefits.

See Kentucky State Unemployment Benefits.

Other Kentucky Labor Laws Topics and Resources

There are several other Kentucky labor laws governing the employers and their workplaces. Below are those topics and resources:

  • Kentucky Child Labor Laws are enforced by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. It covers topics including work during school hours and summer hours (usually June through Labor Day), school days and non-school days, hour restrictions, and hazardous occupations. To be able to work in Kentucky, a youth may be required to provide proof of age, such as a birth certificate, and obtain an employment certificate.
  • Discrimination and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) are enforced by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. Also, the federal laws regarding discrimination are enforce by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It offers protections and violations based on the following:
Familial statusNational OriginAge (40+)Gender expression
RaceReligionSexual orientationPregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions
ColorSex, including sexual harassmentGender identityDisability

Other State’s Labor Law and Wage and Hour Information

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
District of ColumbiaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
FloridaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.
Employment Law Updates
Laws change in a moment. Sign up to stay informed.

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Have employees in more than one state? SUBSCRIBE HERE!