Kentucky Wage and Hour Laws

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides the United States with minimum wage and hour laws that all employers must abide by. These laws regulate many aspects of the employer – employee relationship such as how much per hour an employee must make, and how many hours per week an employee can be required to work. It is important to note that the FLSA establishes minimum standards. This means that states can't fall below these minimum standard, but they can pass their own state wage and hour laws as long as the state law doesn't violate the federal law.

The following tables highlight Kentucky's main wage and hour laws.

Code Section

Kentucky Revised Statutes section 337.275: Minimum Wage

What's Required?

Beginning on July 1st, 2009, employers in Kentucky must pay their employees at least $7.25 per hour.

If the federal minimum wage is increased to more than $7.25 per hour, then Kentucky's minimum wage will also increase to the same amount as the new federal minimum wage.

Exception- Tipped Employees

Employees that customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips (from patrons or others) may be paid a lower minimum hourly wage (see federal law 29 U.S.C sec. 203).

Penalties

Violations are punishable by a civil penalty of between $100 and $1,000.

Code Section

Kentucky Revised Statutes section 337.285: Maximum Hours

What's Required?

Employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek must be compensated for each hour of overtime at a rate of at least 1½ times his regular hourly rate.

Exceptions

This law doesn't apply to the following employees:
  • Retail store employees connected with selling, purchasing, and distributing merchandise
  • Restaurant, hotel, and motel operation employees
  • Employees of the Secretary of Transportation, seamen, taxi drivers, salesmen or mechanics primarily selling vehicles, farm implements, boats or airplanes
  • Employees who provide 24-hour residential care to children who are dependent, neglected, or abused, and
  • Employees who provide in-home companionship services for sick, convalescing, or elderly people

Penalties

Violations are punishable by a civil penalty of between $100 and $1,000.

Mandatory Lunch Breaks & Rest Periods

All employers in Kentucky (except those subject to the Federal Railway Labor Act) must give their employees a reasonable lunch break during their shift. Employees must receive their lunch period as close to the middle of their shift as possible. The lunch break must not be given sooner than three hours into the shift, and no later than five hours after the shift begins.

In addition to a lunch break, employees must also receive a rest period after they've been working for at least four hours. Employees are required to take at least a ten-minute break every four hours (except employees subject to the Federal Railway Labor Act).

Employer Records

Every employer in Kentucky must keep a record of:

  • The amount paid each pay period to each employee
  • The hours worked each day and each week by each employee, and
  • Any other information that the commissioner requires

Employers must keep these records on file for at least one year, and during that one-year period they may be inspected by the commissioner.

Wage and Hour Complaints Filed by Employees

If an employee reports suspected violations of the above wage and hour laws in Kentucky, the responding department won't disclose the identity of the employee, unless revealing their identity is necessary for enforcement and the employee has given written permission.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Kentucky's wage and hour laws contact a local employment attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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