What are the Kentucky Labor Laws?
Labor laws determine the employer-employee relationship in your workplace. If you are working in the state of Kentucky, you must know the federal and state laws that govern your workplace. Kentucky Labor Laws protect employees throughout their employment process under both federal and state law. However, state laws provide greater protection to working employees than federal law in Kentucky regarding minimum wage and safety in the office.
An employer in Kentucky, in addition to following federal and state law, has to follow municipal laws concerning the employer-employee relationship. This article will provide you with all the information you need to know regarding employment laws in the state of Kentucky.
Kentucky employee rights
KY labor laws are legislations that protect employees while still giving a number of rights to Kentucky employers.
Most of these laws concern the employee's protection in regards to overtime pay, minimum wage, and discrimination in the workplace.
Kentucky minimum wage
Kentucky employee rights set the minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, which is aligned on the federal minimum wage. Employees who earn tips can be paid a lower minimum wage, as long as the hourly rate and tips hit the standard minimum wage.
Kentucky overtime laws
There is no legal limit on the number of hours employees can work in a week, but if they work over 40 hours a week, KY employers must pay a rate of at least one and a half times their normal pay rate.
Overtime pay is not legally required for employees working holidays, Saturdays or Sundays and not all employees are eligible for overtime pay. Salaried management, for example, is exempt from it.
Breaks and meals
KY employee rights allow a rest break of a minimum of 10 to 20 minutes every four hours. Meal breaks have a duration of at least 30 minutes and should occur between the third and fifth hours in a shift.
Discrimination and harassment laws in Kentucky
Under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KRCA), employers are prohibited from discriminating on the grounds of race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, and genetic information. Employers in Kentucky who have at least 15 employees are subject to these laws, and for the law prohibiting age discrimination, employers with at least 20 employees must adhere to the law.
In addition to the above laws, laws in Kentucky also prohibit discrimination regarding job listings, hiring decisions, interviews, layoffs, promotion, compensation, and termination. Also, in addition to the above prohibitions, employees are protected from discrimination on the grounds of physical disability or HIV-related issues.
Equal pay in Kentucky
In jobs of comparable work, laws in Kentucky prohibit employers to pay females less than males on the grounds of skill and responsibility, with an exception only based on the merit system and seniority system. Also, discrimination must not be based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation and national origin.
Wage and labor in Kentucky
Regarding the minimum wage, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum wage and working hours that employers must adhere to. Employers are guided by law to pay the highest minimum wage to employees which is $7.25 an hour in Kentucky, the same as the federal minimum wage. Following federal law, Kentucky also allows for payment of overtime to all employees.
Child labor in Kentucky
In Kentucky, minors under 14 years of age are prohibited from employment except for a school-sponsored employment program. Also, minors aged between 14-15 are not permitted from working in hazardous jobs like manufacturing.
Leave laws in Kentucky
In Kentucky, benefits such as paid leave, sick leave, holidays and paid time off (PTO) are offered voluntarily by many employers. However, unpaid leaves may be issued by employers in the following cases:
Military leave - under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Kentucky law, employers must allow their employees to take a vacation from work in case of federal or state military duty.
Family and medical leave - the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires employers who have a workforce of at least 50 members to issue employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year in the case of illness or caregiving issues.
Jury duty - employees in Kentucky are guided by law to take leave for jury duty.
Voting leave - employers should grant at least 4 hours off to employees to cast their votes.
Compensation and safety laws
In the case of an on-the-job injury, an employee in Kentucky is eligible for worker’s compensation.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act, which is a federal law, requires employers in Kentucky to provide a safe workplace and a non-hazardous working environment. Kentucky allows employees to conceal carry in their vehicles. However, it prohibits employees from texting while driving.
If employees feel that their employers have committed safety violations, then they have the right to ask for an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection.
Leaving a job in Kentucky
KY employee rights state that employees in Kentucky can leave their job at their own will. However, employees cannot be given the pink slip for discriminatory reasons.