Kentucky Break Laws

April 10th 2024

Both state and federal provisions regulate Kentucky break laws. These laws require employers to recognize the importance of allowing employees to rest and recharge during shifts. Both employers and employees in Kentucky should be aware of their rights and obligations concerning breaks to ensure fair treatment and compliance.

In this article, key concepts concerning rest and meal periods, breastfeeding break obligations, and other related concerns are discussed.

This article covers:

Rest Breaks in Kentucky

As per Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 337.365, it is mandatory for all employers, except those under the Federal Railway Labor Act, to provide their employees with a rest period of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked.

All breaks of less than 20 minutes should be paid, and no deduction in compensation should be made for hourly or salaried employees taking rest breaks. Additionally, it is important to note that the rest break should be given in addition to the mandated meal break.

Meal Breaks in Kentucky

Kentucky employers must provide a reasonable lunch period to their employees, except those who are under the Federal Railway Labor Act. A meal break must be at least 20 minutes long for employees who work a minimum of 7.5 hours. Employees must take their lunch break in the middle of their work shift, no sooner than 3 hours into the shift and no later than 5 hours from the start. Employers are not obligated to compensate their workers for meal breaks under the condition that the employees are relieved of their duties during the break. 

Furthermore, employees have the right to waive their meal breaks, but this should be documented in a written agreement between the employer and employee.

Breastfeeding Breaks in Kentucky

Although the federal FLSA’s PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act protects all breastfeeding employees, Kentucky has already established a strong workplace lactation accommodation law. The Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act requires employers to accommodate pregnant and breastfeeding employees reasonably. Employers must provide breastfeeding employees with the following:

  • Break time to express milk
  • Private space for mothers to pump milk

The employer does not have to provide a private space if it can cause undue hardship on the employer’s business.

Penalties for Employers in Kentucky Violating Break Laws

If a worker claims they are denied meal or rest breaks, they could file a complaint with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. Employers who fail to comply with Kentucky break laws may face penalties and legal consequences.

Employers are required to keep accurate records of employees’ breaks and ensure that employees can take their entitled breaks during the workday.

Furthermore, employers denying breaks to minor employees will face a violation of Kentucky’s child labor laws, which are punishable by a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000. A willful violation of child labor laws can result in a civil money penalty of up to $13,227 per minor employee. If the violation results in serious injury or death to the employee, the maximum civil penalty is $60,115.

Employers who repeatedly break child labor laws face a fine of up to $120,230 as well as imprisonment.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in Kentucky

Under the Kentucky Child Labor Laws, minors under the age of 18 should not be permitted to work for more than 5 hours continuously without an interval of at least 30 minutes for a lunch period. The employer should document the beginning and end of the lunch period. Moreover, meal breaks should be uninterrupted.

Furthermore, employers should provide at least a 10-minute rest break during each 4 hours worked. Rest breaks should be taken in addition to the scheduled lunch period. 

Rest Day Requirements in Kentucky

Under Kentucky labor laws, employers must provide at least 1 day off in a 7-day workweek. Moreover, no employer should compel any employee to work more than 40 hours in a workweek. If the employee agrees to work overtime, they should receive compensation for the succeeding work hours at a rate of 1.5 times the hourly rate employed.

 Learn more about Kentucky Overtime Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.