Kentucky Sick Leave Law

Although the world has not yet recovered from the economic setback caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many job opportunities are now available.

Kentucky is one of the places where the local government is proud of its quality workforce and promises job seekers they’ll find meaningful employment.

If you’re looking for a job in this Southern state, you must know its labor laws to ensure you know what to expect.

Knowing the regulations regarding Kentucky sick leave law, minimum wage, overtime, and other work-related aspects will save you a lot of potential hassle.

Working in Kentucky

Before considering the Kentucky sick leave law, it would be advisable to learn about the overall job culture of the state.

With a population that exceeds 4.4 million, Kentucky is considered a healthy economic state.

It has diverse employment opportunities, but you’re more likely to get an entry-level position unless you’re a professional or a degree holder.

Here are some of the job openings you can expect.

  • Fast food and other food-related industries always require fresh new hires.
  • Like in most places, Kentucky needs a lot of workforce in healthcare due to the pandemic.
  • Customer service representatives are also in-demand.
  • The state always looks for hand laborers, stock, freight, and material movers.

Sick Leave Law in Kentucky

Eligible Employees

According to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, full-time employees working at least 100 regular hours per month are entitled to one day of sick leave monthly.

Ten extra sick leave days are earned after 120 and 240 full months of service.

Employers usually allow their employees to use their credits when they are sick, injured, or need to attend medical appointments.

Workers who provide part-time service to the state are not eligible to earn sick leave.


State employees who work regular hours of duty will earn 7.5 to 8 hours monthly, with no cap on accumulation.

Essentially, one day of leave is credited per month.

After ten years of service, workers will get a bonus of ten personal leave days.

Another ten days are granted if the duration of service has reached 20 years.

Compensatory Leave

For compensatory leave time, employees are due to earn one and one-half every hour that exceeds the 40-hour mark weekly.

If you use the leave on the same week you accrued it, it won’t count as hours worked.

The maximum allowed for compensatory time is 240 hours, which can be paid upon separation from employment.

Compensatory leave is applicable for various purposes, not just for medical reasons.

Other Sick Leave Laws Implemented in Kentucky

The state employees’ sick leave program can differ slightly from the other existing legislation related to medical leave.

Let’s explore some of the different policies implemented in Kentucky.


Kentucky enforces the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), mandated by the United States Department of Labor, which protects state employee rights.

FMLA generally allows an eligible employee to have up to 12 weeks of sick leave balances for medical reasons.

The act defines employee eligibility by the following criteria:

  • Companies with at least 50 employees, all public agencies, workers in private and public elementary and secondary schools
  • Completed work for at least one year or 1,250 hours (determined by the FSLA principles)

Employees can use the 12-week absence for health issues that prevent them from performing their duties.

Service members can also use it to care for a family or someone close to them with severe illness or injuries.

In most circumstances, it is considered an unpaid family leave if you use it for the aforementioned reason.

Other qualifications and definitions are available in the state’s Employee Handbook.


The Kentucky Public Pensions Authority (KPPA) manages and operates the accounts of the retirement system.

These systems are Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) and County Employees Retirement System (CERS).

According to KPPA, Tier One members of the systems mentioned above have a Standard sick leave plan.

However, they are not entitled to get any monetary payment if filed during the time of retirement.

Agencies participating in CERS with the Standard plan can avail a maximum of six months of unused sick leave.

It is dedicated to health insurance benefits and retirement eligibility.

Your agency may pay the whole amount of sick leave or split the excess leave service credit.

The compensation is calculated if you request it at the time of retirement.

Other CERS agencies could give you a sick leave balances percentage, and the remaining balance is given to KPPA.

Paid Sick Leave

Unfortunately, like many other states, Kentucky has no legislation mandating private businesses to give paid sick leaves to their employees.

As such, an employer may give an employee unpaid sick leave.

Still, many companies provide paid absence as part of the benefits.

If sick leave is offered, private employers may have to establish a legal obligation to provide it.

They should evaluate statements in the employment contract or other references to ensure that the sick leave policy is implemented correctly.

Employees need to be aware ASAP of any modifications to the policy to avoid legal issues.

Covered Employers

There’s no state legislation yet that mandates private employers to provide medical leave to employees.

Still, several companies in Kentucky are including sick leave benefits on their policies to generate interest from applicants.


Many companies include health insurance coverage together with the leaves.

If you’re worried about your health plan and employment due to a severe illness or injury, you may still get coverage.

Kentucky honors the covered health insurance plan called the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

It allows eligible workers and their dependents to have health coverage even upon termination of employment or having fewer service hours.

Conclusion: Kentucky Sick Leave Law

If you have experience working in other states, there aren’t many differences in employee sick leave in Kentucky.

Always read the fine print of your contract to avoid any inconveniences, especially if you’re working for a private company.

As long as you follow the procedure of filing a sick leave, you won’t get in trouble with your employer.

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