Workers in Kentucky have a right to a 30-minute meal break and two 10-minute paid rest breaks in 8 hours. Workers under 18 years old have a right to a meal break after 5 hours work and to be paid for any breaks shorter than 30 minutes.

If you are represented by a union, you may have more rights under your union contract. Read your contract and talk to a shop steward or representative.

Meal break rules:
  • Workers have a right to a 30 minute meal break between the 3rd and 5th hour of work.
  • The meal break does not have to be paid.
  • Coffee or rest breaks cannot be counted as part of the meal break. Under special circumstances, the meal break can be shorter than 30 minutes.
  • You can make an agreement with your boss for a different arrangement (like if you want to work without a meal break or want to take it earlier or later in your shift) – but you must agree to the change.
  • Employees who are covered by the Federal Railway Labor Act are not covered by this law.
  • Workers under 18 years old have a right to a 30 minute meal break after 5 hours of work and any break of less than 30 minutes must paid.
Rest break rules:
  • Workers have a right to a paid 10-minute break for each 4-hour work period.
  • The rest break must be in addition to the meal break. Employees who are covered by the Federal Railway Labor Act are not covered by this law.

What is the law:

Meal breaks: Kentucky Revised Statutes 337.355
Rest breaks: Kentucky Revised Statutes 337.365
Minor workers: Kentucky Revised Statutes 339.270

Who enforces the law: Kentucky Department of Labor Division of Employment Standards. This law can also be enforced by taking an employer to court (called a "private right of action").