Guide to the Minimum Wage in Kentucky
Thousands of workers currently receive the minimum wage in Kentucky. Knowing the current laws about the minimum wage in Kentucky can help you understand whether your employer is following federal and state wage and hours laws. This guide will explain which employees qualify for which minimum wage in Kentucky, and what to do if you suspect your employer has been violating minimum wage laws.
Minimum Wage in Kentucky for Non-Tipped Employees
For most non-tipped employees, the minimum wage in Kentucky is currently $7.25. For ten years, from 1997 to 2007, the minimum wage in Kentucky stagnated at $5.15 for all covered workers. However, in 2007, the federal government approved a minimum wage increase for all states, and the minimum wage in Kentucky rose with the federal changes. As of 2007, minimum wage in Kentucky rose to $5.85, then to $6.55 a year later. Today's rate of $7.25 an hour has been the minimum wage in Kentucky since 2009.
The vast majority of employees qualify for the minimum wage in Kentucky. If you are not a professional, executive, or administrative employee, your employer is also required to pay you for overtime if you work more than 40 hours in one week. Additionally, Kentucky law requires that you be paid overtime wages (one and a half times your normal hourly rate of pay) for any seventh or longer day in a row of work.
Minimum Wage in Kentucky for Tipped Employees
If you are a tipped employee, you will only qualify for a significantly reduced minimum wage in Kentucky. Currently, the minimum wage in Kentucky for employees who make most of their money with tips is only $2.13 per hour. If you are a tipped employee who makes less than the $7.25 minimum wage in Kentucky for your work, including tips, your employer is required to make up the difference. If your employer refuses to pay you at least minimum wage once your tips have been factored in, he or she is in violation of federal and state labor laws.
Exemptions to Minimum Wage in Kentucky
Not all workers qualify for the standard minimum wage in Kentucky. Student workers may be paid a minimum wage in Kentucky of only 85% of the standard minimum wage. If you are under 20 years old, employers may pay you a training minimum wage in Kentucky of only $4.15 per hour for your first 90 days of employment. After you have been employed for 90 days, you must be paid the standard minimum wage in Kentucky of $7.25.
Minimum Wage Violations
If you suspect that your employer is not following the law regarding the minimum wage in Kentucky, you may be able to file a complaint with the state's wage and hours department. Alternately, you can contact an employment lawyer, who may be able to help you demand back wages and damages. Your employer may not retaliate against you for reporting a violation of minimum wage laws.