Local Government Cannot Raise Minimum Wage Rate in Kentucky
by Stites & Harbison, PLLC
On October 20, 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned a Louisville ordinance that attempted to increase minimum wages above the $7.25/hour rate set by state statute. Pursuant to the Kentucky Constitution and current state wage and hour statutes, only the Kentucky state legislature may increase the state minimum wage rate.
This ruling effectively rejects both Louisville Metro’s and Lexington’s recent attempts to gradually increase minimum wages. Louisville passed an ordinance in December 2014 attempting to increase minimum wages to $9/hour by July 1, 2017. Lexington passed a similar ordinance in November 2015 that would have imposed a local minimum wage of $10.10/hour by July 1, 2018.
For now, the state-wide minimum wage rate remains $7.25/hour. If prior legislation is a bellwether, we are likely to see attempts at both the state and federal levels to increase the current rate in 2017.