The Supreme Court of Kentucky – in a 6-1 decision Oct. 20 – ruled the city of Louisville’s minimum wage law was “invalid and unenforceable,” concluding it didn’t have authority to set minimum wage amounts.
For background, Louisville enacted its minimum wage law (without a posting requirement) in 2014, the first city in the state to go above the federal and state level of $7.25 per hour. In response, business groups challenged it, arguing local governments don’t have this level of authority, and the case went to the state’s supreme court.
Impact on Lexington-Fayette County
So, how does Lexington-Fayette County’s minimum wage law, which went effect July 2016, fit into this story? Although the Supreme Court of Kentucky’s decision doesn’t directly address it, the result and rationale of the ruling will impact the county’s minimum wage law.
“This is an interesting decision,” explains GovDocs Compliance Counsel Anne Jakala. “Kentucky does have a minimum wage law, which is equal to the federal amount of $7.25. And, overall, state law allows local jurisdictions to enact any law that doesn’t conflict with the state’s. In other words, it doesn’t preempt local minimum wage laws.”
However, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that because the state already had a minimum wage law in place (regardless of the amount), no local jurisdiction could enact one and, if they did, those laws would conflict with the state’s.
Anne goes on to say, “So, the conflict was not due to a preemption law, but simply the existence of a state minimum wage law.”
Posting and Notice Requirements
As mentioned above, Louisville’s Minimum Wage law does not require a posting. GovDocs will continue to offer the Lexington-Fayette County Minimum Wage posting until a final order is issued in the Louisville case.
We will also watch for any direct changes to the county law based on the Kentucky Supreme Court ruling. More information will be provided as it becomes available.