If you’re searching for an entry level job in Kentucky, you’re probably wondering what the state minimum wage is. Is it the same as the federal minimum wage, or is it higher? Additionally, you may be wondering if the minimum wage is the same throughout the state or if some cities have set their own pay standards.
Here’s a guide to the minimum wage in Kentucky so you know what to expect.
What Is a Minimum Wage?
First, it’s important to define what a minimum wage is and who receives it.
Many entry level workers in the retail, customer service, and hospitality industries are paid the minimum wage. The minimum wage is the lowest amount an employer can legally pay a covered nonexempt employee for an hour’s worth of work.
The federal government has a set minimum wage that applies to the whole country. States governments can also pass their own minimum wage laws. However, employers can’t pay workers less than the federal standard even if the state minimum is lower.
Most hourly employees are considered nonexempt and are guaranteed at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. However, there are a few exceptions.
Employers can pay trainees less than the federal minimum wage during their first 90 days of employment. Full-time students and disabled workers may also be paid at a lower rate in certain situations.
A different set of rules applies to tipped workers as well. Employers can pay them just $2.13 per hour if they receive enough tips to bring them up to the federal minimum wage. If they have a slow day and don’t earn enough tips to get them up to $7.25 per hour, their employer is required to make up the difference.
Now that you know what the federal minimum wage is, let’s take a look at what pay standards are like in Kentucky.
What is the Minimum Wage in Kentucky?
As mentioned above, states are allowed to create their own minimum wage laws. If a state requires a higher minimum wage than the federal standard of $7.25 per hour, then employers in that state are obligated to pay it.
So does Kentucky have a higher minimum wage requirement?
Kentucky’s minimum wage matches the federal standard of $7.25 per hour, which isn’t enough for some workers to live on. If you have student loans or a family, you may find it hard to get by.
MIT says that the living wage for a single person in Kentucky is $13.48 per hour. So you’d need to earn about $6.23 more than the minimum wage to be able to afford basic necessities without any assistance. If you’re a single parent with a child, that number jumps to $28.25 per hour.
That’s why many Kentucky lawmakers are fighting for a higher minimum wage. One proposal would increase the minimum wage incrementally until it reaches $15 per hour in 2027. But so far, no laws have been passed.
Do Any Cities Have a Higher Minimum Wage?
Just like states, cities and counties may be able to increase the minimum wage in their area. Some cities that have a high cost of living like San Fransisco and Seattle have raised their minimum wage to give entry level workers and their families some more financial breathing room.
The Louisville Metro Council also tried to raise the city’s minimum wage to $9 per hour. But the increase was struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2016. They argued that cities don’t have the authority to set a higher pay rate.
Lexington tried to pass a similar ordinance, but that was struck down as well. So as of right now, the minimum wage is the same throughout Kentucky.
What do you think about the minimum wage in Kentucky? Do you think it’s enough to live on or should it be increased? Let us know in the comments section below.
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