Wages and Hours

Wages and Hours


The Division of Wages and Hours is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Kentucky’s labor laws relating to minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, lunch breaks, rest periods, payroll deductions, child labor, and wage discrimination. The division is charged with investigating employee complaints regarding violations of wage and hour statutes and child labor laws.​

General questions regarding wage and hour and child labor laws should be directed to (502) 564-3534 or emailed to wages@ky.gov.

Statutes and Regulations​


File a Wage and Hour Complaint

You can file a Wage and Hour complaint online.

Submit Complaint Form  ​Enviar Formulario de Queja

Kentucky Child Labor Law

Working Hours

The following working hours restrictions apply to all minors 14 to 17 years of age who are enrolled in school, dropped out of school or participating in a homeschool program. These restrictions do not apply to minors who have graduated. Minors are also prohibited from performing duties that are considered hazardous. Please see 803 KAR 1:100​ for a list of these duties.

Ages 14 and 15

  1. May work three (3) hours per day on a school day, eight (8) hours a day on a non-school day, and up to eighteen (18) hours total in a week when school is in session.
  2. May work eight (8) hours per day, forty (40) hours per week when school is not in session for the entire school week.
  3. May work between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  4. Between June 1 and Labor Day, the minor may work as late as 9:00 p.m.
  5. Minors under sixteen (16) years of age may not be employed during regular school hours.

Ages 16 and 17

  1. May work six (6) hours a day on a school day; eight (8) hours a day on a non-school day up to thirty (30) hours total in a school week. If minors want to work more than (30) hours, please see the Certificate of Satisfactory Academic Standing Form and the Parent/Guardian Statement of Consent Form.
  2. May work between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. preceding a school day and between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. preceding a non-school day during a school week.
  3. No working hours restrictions apply in weeks when school is not in session.

Prohibited Jobs

The following prohibited jobs apply to all minors 14 to 17 years of age who are enrolled in school or participating in a home school program. Limited exemptions for minors 16 and 17 years of age are provided for apprentices and student-learners under specified standards. These jobs are marked with an *.

  1. Manufacturing or storing explosives.
  2. Driving a motor vehicle and being an outside helper on a motor vehicle.
  3. Coal mining.
  4. Logging and sawmilling.
  5. Power-driven wood-working machines.*
  6. Exposure to radioactive substances and to ionizing radiations.
  7. Power-driven hoisting equipment.
  8. Power-driven metal-forming, punching and shearing machines.*
  9. Mining, other than coal mining.
  10. Slaughtering, meat packing or processing (including power-driven meat slicing machines).
  11. Power-driven bakery machines.
  12. Power-driven paper-products machines.*
  13. Manufacturing brick, tile and related products.
  14. Power-driven circular saws, band saws and guillotine shears.*
  15. Wrecking, demolition and ship-breaking operations.
  16. Roofing operations.*
  17. Excavation operations.*
  18. In, about or in connection with any establishments where alcoholic liquors are distilled, rectified, compounded, brewed, manufactured, bottled, sold for consumption or dispensed unless permitted by the rules and regulations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (except they may be employed in places where the sale of alcoholic beverages by the package is merely incidental to the main business actually conducted).
  19. Pool or billiard room.

Lunches and Breaks

Minors under the age of eighteen (18) are required to take a thirty (30) minute documented lunch break for each five (5) hours of continuous work. No period of less than thirty (30) minutes will be considered sufficient.

Employer Requirements

Proof of Age
Employers are required to maintain proof of age on file for each minor under eighteen (18) years of age. A copy of a birth certificate, a driver's license, or school identification is acceptable.

Recordkeeping and Posting Requirements
Employers are required to maintain the names, ages, addresses, the time of the beginning and ending of each work shift, and each meal period. Employers are responsible for posting the child labor poster including prohibited duties. Posters may be obtained by selecting the link from the posters section on this page.

Statutes and Regulations


Performance Bond Requirement

Kentucky law (KRS 337.200 below) requires that a Performance Bond must be kept on file for employers in the construction and mining industries (including the transportation of minerals) who have conducted business within the Commonwealth for less than 5 consecutive years.

A Performance Bond must equal the company’s gross payroll operating at full capacity for four weeks. If the work falls under Prevailing Wage regulations, those rates would apply.

This bond may be secured by any certified surety company. A list of certified companies may be found online at the Department of the Treasury's Listing of Certified Companies.

Visit the Department of the Treasury's Listing of Certified Companies

A Performance Bond must be submitted on the KY Labor Cabinet’s Continuous Bond Form.

A Performance Bond is required to be kept in effect until either

  1. The company has been conducting business within the Commonwealth for 5 continuous years; or
  2. Until a sworn, notarized statement is received stating a) that all wages have been paid; b) the company is no longer doing business within the Commonwealth, and c) should the company resume working within the Commonwealth, a new Performance Bond will be provided at that time.

If you have any additional questions regarding Performance Bonds or its requirements, please contact this office at wages@ky.gov.

KRS 337.200: Performance Bonds -
“Except for employers who have been doing business in the state for five (5) years, every employer engaged in construction work, or the severance, preparation, or transportation of minerals, shall furnish on a form prescribed by the Executive Director a performance bond to assure the payment of all wages due from the employer. Surety for the bond shall be an amount of money equal to the employer’s gross payroll operating at full capacity for four (4) weeks. Any employee whose wages are secured by a bond may obtain payment of those wages, liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees as provided by law on presentation to the Executive Director of a final judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction. The bond may be terminated, with the approval of the Executive Director, on submission of the employer’s statement, lawfully administered under oath, that the employer has ceased doing business in the state and that all due wages have been paid.”

Required Workplace Posters


The provided posters may be printed and used free of charge.

Kentucky OSH, Wage and Hour and Wage Discrimination Posters may print as two pages and must be joined before posting.


  • Select one of the poster links below to open the file.
  • Print in landscape orientation (sideways) on letter-size (8.5 inches by 11 inches) paper.
  • If applicable, join the two pages securely, which are the top and bottom halves of the poster, using masking tape or staples.
  • Be sure not to cover up any of the text of the poster when joining the two halves.
  • Post the finished poster in a conspicuous location or area where notices to employees are customarily posted.

Safety and Health on the Job

Safety and Health on the Job (Spanish) Protection De Seguridad y Salud en el Trabajo

Wage and Hour Laws

Wage and Hour Laws (Spanish) Leyes de Salario y pago por hora en el estado de Kentucky

Wage Discrimination 

Wage Discrimination (Spanish) Discriminación de salario debido al sexo de la persona

Child Labor Law

Child Labor Law (Spanish) Leyes del trabajo para menores de edad en Kentucky Child Labor Law

There may be Federal posters your company is required to post. Please check the US DOL website here for those posters that may apply.

U.S. Department of Labor

In addition to the Labor Cabinet posters, there are also two other mandatory posters for employers within the Commonwealth. The Kentucky Equal Employment Opportunity poster is provided courtesy of the KY Commission of Human Rights. The Unemployment Insurance Benefits poster is provided by the Office of Employment and Training.

Información en Español

El Gabinete de Trabajo de Kentucky ofrece servicios en español para las personas que viven y trabajan en este estado. Nuestra meta es reducir el número de fatalidades entre la comunidad Latina, reducir cargos de violaciones de leyes para las compañías que emplean trabajadores latinos y para ser justos y equitativos con cada uno de los empleados que dan su esfuerzo, trabajo y dedicación a nuestro estado mancomunado de Kentucky.

Para alcanzar este objetivo, estamos comprometidos a:

  1. Mantener un programa informado de alcance, concientización y entendimiento de las leyes de seguridad en el trabajo para los trabajadores hispano hablantes que viven en este estado.
  2. Crear concientización de los derechos y responsabilidades como empleados en cualquier industria sin importar su origen o estado legal.
  3. Educar a empleadores de cómo administrar de la mejor manera la mano de obra latina, entendiendo diferencias culturales y alentando a los trabajadores que sean más proactivos.

Documentos e instrucciones- para llenar una queja

Queja de Empleo en español ES-8

Publicaciones en español

Leyes de Salario y pago por hora en el estado de Kentucky
Discriminación de salario debido al sexo de la persona
Leyes del trabajo para menores de edad en Kentucky Child Labor Law
Protección de Seguridad y Salud en el trabajo

Preguntas frecuentes

¿El Gabinete de Trabajo de Kentucky investiga quejas de discriminación?
No. Solamente en el área de salario debido al sexo de la persona. ¿Qué significa esto? Que se prohíbe que el empleador discrimine entre empleados de sexo opuesto en el mismo establecimiento pagando diferentes tasas de salario por trabajo comparable o por trabajo que tienen requerimientos comparables. Ahora, si usted siente que ha sufrido una discriminación en contra de usted en su trabajo debido a su raza, color, religión, origen nacional, estado de ciudadanía ancestral, edad, estado marital, impedimento físico, servicio militar o por despido militar desfavorable, contacte a Comisión de Derechos Humanos de Kentucky – (502)595-4024.
¿El Gabinete de Trabajo de Kentucky investiga quejas de desempleo?
No, la oficina de empleos y entrenamiento provee asistencia con las quejas de desempleo (502) 564-2900.
¿He sido lastimado en el trabajo puede ayudarme el Gabinete de Trabajo?
No, el Departamento de Compensación al Trabajador, maneja ese tipo de casos de compensación al trabajador (502)564-5550.
¿Puede un empleador despedirme sin darme aviso alguno o por una razón injusta?
Sí. Kentucky es un estado de “empleo a voluntad” que significa, que un empleador o un empleado pueden terminar el empleo por cualquier razón y en cualquier momento. No obstante el empleador, no puede discriminarle basado en la raza, color, religión, sex, nacionalidad, origen ancestral, edad, estado marital, condición física o mental, servicio militar, despido militar desfavorable.

Si tiene alguna pregunta adicional relacionada con el Gabinete de Trabajo llame a nuestra línea en español (502)564-0687.

Para más información de las oficinas en el gobierno estatal visite la página de comunicaciones en www.kentucky.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

Effective July 1, 2009, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
Time and one-half must be paid for hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours in a work week.
Comp time may not be given to an employee who is subject to the overtime law.
Kentucky labor laws do not define full-time and part-time employment.  Employers are free to define these terms as they choose.
You are entitled to a rest period of at least ten (10) minutes during each four hours you work. The rest period is a paid break.
You are entitled to a reasonable period for a meal no sooner than the third nor later than the fifth hour of your work shift unless you and your employer have mutually agreed to some other arrangement. A duty-free meal period does not have to be paid.
There is nothing that prohibits your employer from requiring you to work overtime.
There is no limitation on the number of hours that your employer can require you to work in a day.
Your employer may change your rate of pay so long as you are informed of the change prior to working any hours at the new rate. In other words, the change cannot be retroactive.
Yes, your employer may make your position salaried but this may or may not effect whether you must be paid overtime for hours in excess of forty (40) in a work week.
Your employer can require direct deposit so long as you have the ability to withdraw your entire net pay without having to pay a fee to the financial institution.
Holiday pay is not required by Kentucky law.
When you leave employment for any reason your employer has until the next regular payday or fourteen (14) days whichever last occurs.

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