There is a delicate balance that must be struck for employers and employees between working efficiently and not being overworked. It stands to reason that employers do not want to pay employees who are not working, but also that hungry or tired workers may not be the most productive. In order to ensure they are getting the most from their workers, many employers in Kentucky and elsewhere allow them to take periodic breaks during their shifts. 

Federal laws establish a number of protections for workers. However, there is no federal law in place requiring employers to allow their workers periods for rest or to take meals during their shifts. Kentucky state law, on the other hand, necessitates that employers provide their workers with both. 

Employers in the state of Kentucky are required to provide employees with meal breaks. Workers must be allowed a reasonable period of time for a meal during their shifts; however, employers are not required to pay workers for these breaks. According to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, employees cannot be required to take their meal breaks before their third hour of work or after their fifth-hour on-duty. 

In addition to meal breaks, employers in the state must allow workers one 10-minute rest period for every four hours they work. These breaks are paid and must be given in addition to workers’ meal breaks. 

According to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, employers must allow underage workers a 30-minute meal break for every five hours of continuous work. While they may choose to give workers more than 30 minutes for a meal break during their shifts, anything less is considered insufficient for employees who are under 18-years-old.