Kentucky Leave Laws

January 8th 2024

US labor laws mandate certain leave provisions for employees in order to protect employee well-being and foster a productive workplace.

This article intends to explore the legal responsibilities concerning leave in Kentucky and the various types of leave accessible to employees.

It is important to recognize that regulations may vary between employers in the public and private sectors.

In Kentucky, leave days are classified into two categories: mandatory and non-mandatory, each with its own distinct guidelines and prerequisites.

This Article Covers

Kentucky Required Leave
Kentucky Non-Required Leave

Kentucky Required Leave

In Kentucky, employers have an obligation to grant specific types of leave to their employees. Employees cannot be penalized for taking such leave and they may return to their jobs once the leave is concluded. Such required leave types include:

1. Family And Medical Leave

  • Eligibility:
    All employees who have worked for at least a year and completed 1,250 work hours.
    Employers with over 50 workers are required to comply with FMLA regulations.
  • Duration:
    12 weeks of unpaid leave to be taken in a one-year period.
    Up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave for employees caring for an Armed Forces member with a serious illness or injury, yet, only if the member in question is an employee’s spouse, parent, child, or next of kin.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To care for an employee’s own serious health condition, a family member’s serious health condition, or a newly-born or adopted child.

2. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve on a jury when summoned for jury duty.

3. Voting Time Leave

  • Eligibility: All employers.
    However, if the employer can show that the employee did not use this leave to vote for reasons they could have controlled, then the employer is allowed to penalize that employee.
  • Duration: At least 4 hours.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To vote in any local, regional, state or comparable election.

4. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: All American employees.
    Further, Kentucky residents who are members of the National Guard are eligible for leave for training or any related activity, in addition to active duty.
  • Duration: The scheduled duration of service. 
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To take leave to serve in the US Armed Forces, National Guard, or state militia.

5. Emergency Response Leave

  • Eligibility: Kentucky employees who serve as a volunteer firefighter, rescue squad member, ambulance driver, peace officer, or any other emergency response position.
    To prove eligibility, employees may need to provide a letter from their supervisor or institution where they did the emergency work, but their status cannot be punished or disciplined.
    Employers may choose to make this leave paid or unpaid.
  • Duration: The scheduled duration of the emergency response.
    Leave can last up to 12 months if the employee is injured while responding to an emergency.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To respond to emergencies.

6. Witness Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who are summoned to court.
    However, employers can request documentation such as a court or administrative certificate as proof that the employee was indeed summoned to court.
    Employers must give their employees the option of paid or unpaid leave.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve when subpoenaed as a witness.

7. Adoption Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who are in the midst of an adoption process.
  • Duration: Up to 6 weeks of leave
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To complete the necessary paperwork and attend to any associated tasks related to obtaining custody.

Kentucky Non-Required Leave

Kentucky employers have no legal obligation to provide specific types of leave to their employees. However, some employers may choose to offer these benefits at their own discretion. Such non-required leave types are:

1. Sick Leave

In Kentucky, employers are not obligated to provide paid or unpaid sick leave as per state legislation.

2. Vacation Leave

Employers in Kentucky are not required by law to provide paid vacation leave to their employees. However, employers have the option to include this benefit in the terms of employment. If employers choose to offer vacation leave, they must clearly specify the details and conditions of such leave in the employment contract.

3. Bereavement Leave

In Kentucky, there is no legal obligation for employers to provide paid or unpaid time off for employees who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

4. Holiday Leave

Kentucky employers are not obligated by law to provide their employees with paid or unpaid leave specifically for holidays or related festivities.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Kentucky, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Kentucky, and your rights as an hourly employee in Kentucky. You can also learn more about Kentucky Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.