Remote’s guide to employing in

Kentucky
kentucky flag

Make employment in Kentucky easy. Let us handle payroll, benefits, taxes, compliance, and even stock options for your team in Kentucky, all in one easy-to-use platform.

  • Capital City

    Frankfort

  • Currency

    United States Dollar ($, USD)

  • Population size

    4,500,000

Services available in this country:
Employer of Record ProductPayrollContractor Management

Facts & Stats

  • Capital City

    Frankfort

  • Currency

    United States Dollar ($, USD)

  • Population size

    4,500,000

  • VAT - standard rate

    6%

With an array of scenic attractions, cultural contributions, and, of course, Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Bluegrass State is one of the US’s most iconic regions.

With a strong education system and a diverse economy across tourism, manufacturing, and healthcare, it’s an attractive proposition for employers, while the low cost of living, proximity to major cities, and numerous cultural attractions attract plenty of job seekers, too.


Grow your team in Kentucky with Remote

If you want to hire in Kentucky, you’ll need to own a legal entity there — or partner with a global employment solutions provider, like Remote.  

We can employ top talent in Kentucky on your behalf and manage complex HR tasks such as onboarding, payroll, benefits, and taxes. You can also manage and pay your contractors in Kentucky through Remote.


Risks of misclassification

Kentucky, like many other countries, treats self-employed individuals or contractors and full-time employees differently. Misclassification of contractors in Kentucky may lead to fines and penalties for the offending company.

Employing in Kentucky

In Kentucky, workers’ rights are protected by numerous employment and labour laws, at both the state and federal level. As a result, employees enjoy protection from discrimination based on age, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and race.

Here are the key things you need to know about hiring in Kentucky.

Hours of work in Kentucky

Work and overtime laws in Kentucky are governed by the state’s Education and Labour Cabinet.

What is considered full-time employment in Kentucky?

Full-time employment is generally considered to be between 30 and 40 hours per week, although this is not enshrined in law.

Do pay employees get overtime in Kentucky?

Under the federal Fair Labour Standards Act, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay of 1.5x their regular pay rate if they work more than 40 hours in a week.

Employees are generally (but not always) exempt from overtime if they:

  • Earn more than the specified state or federal exemption threshold

  • Perform a role with duties that are considered executive or managerial

  • Work in a certified or licensed profession, such as law, accounting, architecture, or engineering

In Kentucky, the pay threshold for exemption is currently $684 per week, which is the federal minimum.

Note that the federal pay threshold for exemption is currently being reviewed in the US.

Minimum wage in Kentucky

The minimum state wage for private sector employees is currently $7.25 per hour, which is the federal minimum.

Onboarding timeline in Kentucky

We can help you get your new employee started in Kentucky fast, with a minimum onboarding time (MOT) of just 2 working days. Note that the MOT is dependent upon registration with the local authorities, and begins after the employee has submitted all the required information on the Remote platform.

For non-citizens of the US, a work eligibility assessment may be required, and can add three extra days to the onboarding time. If a follow-up is needed, there may be additional delays.

Please note that payroll cut-off dates can impact the actual first day of employment. Remote’s payroll cut-off date is the 10th of the month, unless otherwise specified.

Payroll cycle in Kentucky

Under state law, employees must be paid at least twice per month.

For Remote customers, employee payments are made twice per month in equal instalments, payable in arrears. The first payment is made on the 15th of the month and the second payment is made on the final day of the month. If relevant, bonus payments, commissions, and expense reimbursements are included in the second payment of the cycle.

Competitive benefits package in Kentucky

Remote can help you craft a competitive benefits package to attract and retain the best global talent. Our benefits experts understand the trends, requirements, and expectations of the Kentucky labour market, allowing your employees to feel appreciated and thrive.

Our benefits packages in Kentucky usually include some or all of the following:


  • Pension or 401(K)

  • Medical insurance

  • Vision insurance

  • Health Saving Plan (HSA)

  • Vision Insurance

  • Health Saving Plan (HSA)

  • Long term disability insurance (LTD)

  • Dental insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Are employers required to provide health insurance in Kentucky?

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, organisations with a headcount of 50 or more must offer statutory health insurance to their full-time employees.

Many employers also offer some level of supplemental health insurance. While this can lead to a relative rise in employment costs, it’s an essential benefit that ensures your people have access to routine care and are covered in the event of an emergency. 

Because Remote is the employer of record (EOR), it’s important for us to offer the same core benefits to all employees to ensure fair and non-discriminatory hiring practices. This protects both your business and ours.

Note that we do not add a markup on any benefits premiums or administration costs.

Are employers required to offer 401k in Kentucky?

No. Organisations are not legally required to offer a 401k retirement plan (or any other type of savings plan) to their employees. However, they may choose to offer this benefit as part of their overall compensation package.


Taxes in Kentucky

Employment taxes and statutory fees affect both your payroll and your employees’ paychecks in Kentucky.

Note that your employees may be liable for additional local taxes in certain areas.

Employer taxes

Employment Tax

6%

Federal unemployment insurance tax (FUTA) (charged on the first $7,000 an employee earns per year)

0.3% to 9%

State unemployment insurance tax (SUTA)

6.2%

FICA (Social security)

1.45%

FICA (Medicare)

Employee taxes

Payroll Tax

10% to 37%

Federal income tax

4%

State income tax

6.2%

FICA (Social security)

1.45%

FICA (Medicare)

Types of leave

Holiday

In Kentucky, there is no state or federal law that requires employers to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave to their employees, although most organisations do.

Sick leave

In Kentucky, there is no state or federal law that requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, although some organisations do.

Can an employer deny sick time in Kentucky?

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave per year, provided they:

Have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months

Work in a location where at least 50 people are employed by the company within a 75-mile radius

Parental and maternity leave

Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave. Some organisations opt to pay a reduced pay during this period.

Under state law, employers must make reasonable accommodations for employee conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, including unpaid time off.

Employees who adopt are also entitled to up to six weeks’ unpaid leave (or to the same amount of paid or unpaid leave as biological parents if the company’s policy is longer).

Bereavement leave

Employers are not legally required to provide bereavement leave to their employees, although most organisations offer unpaid leave.

Jury duty

Employees must report for jury duty if summoned (unless exempt). Jurors are typically on call for two weeks.

Do employers have to pay for jury duty in Kentucky?

No. Private sector employers are not required to pay employees on jury service, but they must provide unpaid leave, and cannot penalise or terminate an employee on jury duty. Some employers provide paid leave.

Military leave

Under state and federal law, employers must grant unpaid leave to employees who are members of the military or the National Guard for military duty or training.

These employees have the right to take time off for their military obligations, and employers are prohibited from discriminating against them based on their military service.

Employment termination

Termination process

Like nearly all US states, Kentucky is an at-will state. This means both employers and employees can end the employment relationship without reason, provided it is legal.

Remote’s legal experts can help you navigate terminations to ensure employees are only let go fairly, negating any potential legal complications.


Notice period

Employers and employees are not required to provide notice of termination, unless otherwise stated in the employment contract.

Despite this, it's usually customary for employees to provide two weeks' notice when leaving an organisation.


Severance pay

Employers are not legally required to provide severance pay (unless it is stipulated in the employee's contract or in the company policy).

Employers are also not required to pay any accrued but unused holiday time, unless stipulated in the employment agreement.


Probation periods

There is no requirement to provide a probation period for employees, although many companies implement internal probation policies. These policies typically involve a formal performance evaluation after a specified period, such as three or six months.