Kentucky Enacts Laws Impacting Employee Unions and Wages


All Employers with KY Employees


January 9, 2017


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In early January, Kentucky passed a number of bills that impact employee unions.  The bills contained an emergency clause, meaning they became immediately effective once signed by Governor Matt Bevin on January 9, 2017.


First, Kentucky joins 26 other states in enacting right-to-work regulations.  The new law follows similar provisions enacted in other states that prohibit employees from being required to join a union, or pay union fees, as a condition of employment.

Paycheck Protection Act

Second, Governor Bevin also signed into law the Paycheck Protection Act (the “Act”).  The Act requires employees to affirmatively opt-in to have union dues withheld from paychecks.  Previously, employees had to opt-out of having union dues automatically withheld from paychecks.

Repeal of Kentucky Prevailing Wage

Last, the Kentucky legislature has now repealed the prevailing wage, meaning that the minimum wage for construction employees working on publicly-financed projects will no longer be set by state officials.  Note, however, that the repeal of the prevailing wage does not apply retroactively.  Therefore, bids awarded before the effective date of January 7, 2017 are still subject to the prevailing wage.  The repeal of Kentucky’s prevailing wage also does not affect federal contracts.


Action Items

  1. Revise payroll processes that automatically deduct union fees from employee wages.
  2. Review the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s FAQ on the repealed prevailing wage for more information.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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