Kentucky labor law not only provides for safe workplaces and fair treatment of workers, but it also tightly regulates the labor of minors. Child labor laws for Kentucky cover the hours that minor children may work, in addition to barring them from certain professions. For parents, employers and teens alike, knowing the child labor laws of Kentucky is valuable to insist upon proper treatment and avoid costly infractions.
Kentucky law bars minors from working in a number of fields. No minors under the age of 18 may work in occupations such as mining, logging, driving, manufacturing or warehousing of explosives, the manufacture of bricks, excavation, demolition, roofing or any work done with power-driven saws. Minors may not work in places where the main business is selling alcohol or in pool and billiard halls.
Minors between the ages of 14 and 16 may not work in any form of manufacturing or places where manufacturing is taking place. They may not be employed in transportation, warehousing and working with all power-driven machinery with the exception of office equipment.
Youths 14 and 15
Minors 14 and 15 years old have special restrictions on the hours they may work. Minors this age may not work more than three hours a day during the school week or more than 18 hours total during the week. During days when school is not in session, 14- and 15-year-olds may work as many as eight hours in a day. Work during the school year can be performed only between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. No work during the school year can be done during regular school hours.
When school is not in session, 14- and 15-year-olds can work as late as 9 p.m. During weeks when school is not in session, minors of this age may work as many as eight hours in a day and 40 hours total during a week.
Youths 16 and 17
Minors 16 and 17 years old have more leeway in what hours they work. Minors of this age may work as many as six hours a day on school days. On days when school is not in session, they may work as many as eight hours. When school is in session minors of this age may work up to 30 hours, unless parental permission is given and the student maintains at least a 2.0 grade point average. On days before school minors 16 and 17 may work until 10:30 p.m. On nights before days when there are no classes, minors of this age may work until 1 a.m.
All minors must have a half-hour meal break after five hours of work. Nothing less than half an hour is adequate for a minor's lunch break.