Once you get through the process of applying and interviewing, the real work starts. Literally. You may find yourself having questions that relate to your pay, your hours and work schedule, or whether your coworkers or superiors are allowed to act the way they are. Before your first day, it is extremely important to review your employment contract and employee handbook thoroughly. These documents will often answer questions regarding specific policies and procedures of your employment.
The following are relevant rights to be aware of in your employment:
You have the right to work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment. It is a violation of Kentucky law for your compensation or conditions of employment to be based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability. KRS 344.100.
Kentucky’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. KRS 337.275. If the federal minimum wage is increased, Kentucky’s minimum wage will increase by the same amount, and the increase takes effect the same day as the federal minimum wage increase.
If your job is one where you regularly receive more than thirty dollars ($30) a month in tips, your employer is only required to pay you $2.13 an hour. Employers are not allowed to keep tips received by its employees for any purposes. Furthermore, managers or supervisors are not allowed to keep any portion of an employee’s tips. Additionally, in Kentucky, it’s unlawful for an employer to require you to return any tips to the employer, except for the purpose of withholding amounts required by federal or state law. KRS 337.065. Similarly, your employer cannot require you to participate in a “tip pool” for distribution among all employees. You may, however, voluntarily enter into an agreement with other employees to divide tips among yourselves. This voluntarily tipping pool may be customary at your place of employment and is important to discuss prior to accepting employment.
Your employer must pay you at least twice a month. KRS 337.020. Under Kentucky law, if you work seven (7) days in any one (1) workweek, employers are required to pay you time and a half for the time you work on the seventh day. KRS 337.050(1).
Your employer is not allowed to withhold any part of the agreed upon wages unless a special exception applies. KRS 337.060. If you see that you are not being paid in full, review your employment contract and your pay stub. For any deductions to your pay that go towards insurance premiums or hospital and/or medical dues, you are required to have previously authorized your employer to do so in writing.
Your employer is required to provide you a “reasonable period” for lunch. KRS 337.355. This reasonable period may not be required by your employer to be sooner than three (3) hours after your shift starts, or after you’ve being working for five (5) hours. In addition to a regularly scheduled lunch period, you’re entitled to a rest period of at least ten (10) minutes for every four (4) hours worked, and your wages may not be reduced for the rest period. KRS 337.365.If you have any questions about a policy or procedure in your contract or handbook, it is good practice to consult with a manager or adviser. If you think you may be asked to do things against policy, or against the law, it is good practice to consult with an attorney.