Tag Archives: Kentucky

It’s Official — Kentucky Is The 27th Right To Work State

On January 7, 2017, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 1 (Kentucky’s Right to Work law) into law. This law took immediate effect.

With this new law, Kentucky will join the other right-to-work states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What Does This Mean For Kentucky Employers?

A Right-to-Work law exempts a worker from the current legal requirement to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Previously, under Kentucky law, if a workplace has a union, then all employees must join the union (if they are not already members) as a condition of employment and must remain members of the union in order to remain employed. In other words, union membership is a condition of employment.

In a Right to Work State, a union can still be established in a workplace if a majority of the employees agree to union representation; and, once established, the union then acts as a representative of all employees. The major difference is that union membership is not a condition of employment. In other words, employees do not have to join the union (or pay union dues) in order to work for the Company.

Therefore, effective immediately, employees in Kentucky cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment

Kentucky local minimum wage laws struck down

Over the past couple of years, two Kentucky cities (Louisville and Lexington) passed local minimum wage laws which required employers within those cities to pay a higher minimum wage than Kentucky’s state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. These higher local minimum wage laws were challenged in court by various business interests.

In a recent decision (Kentucky Restaurant Ass’n, et al. v. Louisville/Jefferson Cty. Metro Gov’t), the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that the local minimum wage laws directly conflicted with the Kentucky minimum wage statute and were unenforceable. In other words, under Kentucky’s minimum wage law, Kentucky municipalities do not have the authority to implement laws establishing a higher minimum wage than the state minimum wage.

What this means for Kentucky employers

For now, Kentucky employers do not have to concern themselves with cities (or counties) passing a higher minimum wage than the state minimum wage. However, this reprieve may be short-lived, as government officials in both Louisville and Lexington have asked the Kentucky General Assembly to pass legislation authorizing cities to set a local minimum wage.

DOL Partnership regarding worker misclassification — 34 States and Counting

Thirty-five states have agreed to “team up” with the US Department of Labor to investigate worker misclassification. Is your state one of them?

In 2015, Department of Labor launched an initiative to combat the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. As a part of this initiative, the Department of Labor sought to partner with the state agencies and agree to share information and conduct joint investigations regarding independent contractor misclassification. To date, 35 states have entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding worker misclassification issues.

These states are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

What does this mean for employers in these states?

Employers in the above-listed states should expect collaborative efforts between their state agencies and the Department of Labor during a investigation into potential employee misclassification as the state and the Department of Labor will share information. This could lead to simultaneous, multi-agency investigations into worker classification. It is recommended that companies have qualified legal counsel review any existing independent contractor arrangements. In addition, before entering into an independent contractor relationship, speak with an HR Professional or qualified legal counsel to verify that the worker truly is an independent contractor.