Kentucky state government salary

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State Information

This page describes the compensation, salaries and benefits that Kentucky's public employees receive from state and local government.

Legislator salaries

See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2010, Kentucky state legislators made $188.22 per day.[1] As of 2012, legislators also received a per diem of $135 per day, plus mileage tied to federal rate.[2]

State executive salaries

See also: Compensation of state executive officers
State executive salaries[3]
Office '10 salary Current official
Governor $145,885[4] Steve Beshear
Lieutenant Governor $108,720 Jerry Abramson
Secretary of State $108,720 Alison Lundergan Grimes
Attorney General $108,720 Jack Conway
Treasurer $108,720 Tedd Hollenbach

As of 2008, the salary of Kentucky's governor ranked 18th among U.S. governors' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. governors was $128,735. The median salary earned by U.S. governors was $129,962.[5]

Judicial salaries

See also: State court budgets and judicial salaries
Kentucky judicial salaries[6]
Position '09 salary Current justice
Chief Justice $135,504 John Minton
Associate Justice $135,504 Bill Cunningham
Associate Justice $135,504 Lisabeth Hughes Abramson
Deputy Chief Justice $135,504 Mary Noble
Associate Justice $135,504 Wil Schroder
Associate Justice $135,504 Will Scott
Associate Justice $135,504 Daniel Venters

As of early 2010, the salary of Kentucky's chief justice ranked 38th among U.S. chief justices' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. chief justices was $155,230. The median salary earned by U.S. chief justices was $151,284.[6]

As of early 2010, the salaries of Kentucky's associate justices ranked 40th among U.S. associate justices' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. associate justices was $151,142. The median salary earned by U.S. associate justices was $145,984.[6]

State and local Employees

According to 2008 U.S. Census data, the state of Kentucky and local governments in the state employed a total of 279,962 people.[7] Of those employees, 225,289 were full-time employees receiving net pay of $738,430,416 per month and 54,673 were part-time employees paid $52,994,423 per month.[7] Nearly 62% of those employees, or 173,545 employees, were in education or higher education.[7]

Teacher salaries

The Kentucky state constitution requires that the state legislature provide for "an efficient system of common schools throughout the State."[8]

Kentucky's education costs are 43.8% of the general fund
Teacher salaries[9]
Beginning teacher salary Average salary
$30,525 $47,472

Commonwealth employee benefits

The Commonwealth of Kentucky offers many benefits to its employees.



Health insurance is available only to full-time employees.[10] Coverage becomes effective on the first day of the second month of employment.[10] The Commonwealth pays a fixed amount and the employee pays for additional options.[10]


The Commonwealth provides employees with $20,000 of life insurance at no cost to the employee.[10] Optional life insurance is available for purchase by the employee.[10]

Other benefits

  • Flexible Spending Account - A health care FSA is pre-tax money an employee sets aside, through payroll deductions, to use for certain expenses not reimbursed by the employee's health insurance plan. A dependent care FSA is a pre-tax benefit to use for childcare services such as daycare or adult care.
  • Health Reimbursement Account - If an employee elects to waive health insurance coverage, he/she will receive an employer contribution amount of $175 per month, for a total contribution of $2100, which will be deposited into a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). An HRA is a federally qualified expense account that consists of funds set aside by employers to reimburse employees for qualified medical expenses, such as doctor’s office visits, x-rays and prescriptions.

Annual leave

Full-time employees can earn annual leave. Part-time and interim employees do not earn annual leave (also known as vacation leave).[11] The amount of annual leave earned increases by years of service. For the first five years, employees earn between 7.5 and 8.0 hours of leave per month, for 12 days earned per year.[11] The employees can carry over at least 30 days of leave per year, with the amount that can be carried over increasing on years of service.[11]

Sick leave

Employees earn between 7.5 and 8.0 hours per month, assuming they meet work hour requirements to be eligible for leave accrual. There is no limit on accumulation. After 10 years of service an employee receives 10 bonus days and after 20 years of service, the employee earns an additional 10 bonus days.[10]


Commonwealth employees receive the following holidays:[12]

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
  • Good Friday (1/2 Day)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • The Day After Thanksgiving
  • The Day before Christmas
  • Christmas
  • The Day before New Years Eve

Other leave

  • Military
  • Jury duty
  • Voting
  • Blood donation


See also: Kentucky public pensions

Employees join the Kentucky Employee Retirement System KERS program.[10] The Commonwealth contributes to the employee's account at the rate determined by the Board of Trustees, which is currently 11.61% of the employee's salary.[10] The employee provides 5.00% of his or her salary.[10] New members also pay a 1% contribution for health insurance to bring their total contribution to 6%.[10]

Kentucky lawmakers in 2010 voted to raise the contribution of public-school workers toward retiree health care from 1% to 3.75% over the next six years. State employers will also contribute more.[13]

Additional reading

External links