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Labor Cabinet


The Labor Cabinet is comprised of the Office of the Secretary, the Department of Workers’ Claims and the Department of Workplace Standards. In addition, the Workers’ Compensation Funding Commission, the Workers' Compensation Nominating Committee, the Apprenticeship and Training Council, the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, the Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance Authority, and the State Labor Relations Board are attached to the Cabinet for administrative purposes only.

"...the Office of the Secretary serves to coordinate and promote positive and progressive working relationships between labor and industry..."

The primary responsibility of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet is to ensure that divisions and offices falling under the auspices of the Cabinet work within the jurisdiction of Kentucky labor law to ensure equitable and fair treatment of the Commonwealth’s 1.9 million wage earning employees.

Specifically, the Cabinet, according to regulation, shall have the duties, responsibilities, power, and authority relating to labor, wage and hour issues, occupational safety and health of employees, child labor, apprenticeship, workers’ compensation insurance, and all other matters under the jurisdiction of the Labor Cabinet. In addition, the Office of the Secretary serves to coordinate and promote positive and progressive working relationships between labor and industry, while simultaneously enforcing Kentucky’s labor laws.

Please contact the Cabinet should you need assistance or have questions. Visitors are always welcome.

Secretary Derrick K. Ramsey

Derrick Kent Ramsey is the Commonwealth’s 20th Labor Cabinet Secretary. A higher education and state government administrator by training, Secretary Ramsey works to ensure unwavering fidelity to the Labor Cabinet’s mission of administering worker compensation and workplace standard laws for Kentucky’s 1.9 million workers and their employers.

Sworn to service by Governor Matthew Bevin in January 2016, Secretary Ramsey prioritized three core areas during his administration: Registered Apprenticeships, an electronic litigation management system for worker’s claims, and workplace safety education and training.

Though not a new concept in the Commonwealth, the Registered Apprenticeship Program works with a diverse range of occupation of occupational sectors to place youth, displaced workers, underrepresented populations and workers seeking a change in careers in a formal system of paid on-the-job training and technical instruction tailored to the specific needs of the business or industry. Over one thousand Kentucky employers participate in the program, with more slated to enroll in the program. Under the Secretary’s leadership, the Commonwealth has received over one million dollars in Federal funding during the first ten months of his tenure. He has revived this historic and much-needed program to ensure the availability of a skilled workforce to meet the Commonwealth’s future labor and economic needs.

The Litigation Management System was activated in August of 2016 and is designed to move the workers’ compensation litigation management system into the 21st century by allowing stakeholders to file and manage claims electronically rather than the traditional paper method of filing. During its brief period of operation, the electronic filing of claims has risen to fifty-percent of the total number of claims filed, resulting in unparalleled efficiencies in this important process.

The Secretary’s third area of priority is increasing and improving workplace safety education and training provided to Kentucky workers. Under his vision, he is doing everything possible to ensure that members of the state’s workforce return home safely to their families each day. The training provided to employers and employees is free of charge and available through the web, published materials, and face-to-face consultations. All programs meet the Occupational Safety and Health standards established by the US Department of Labor and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.

Secretary Ramsey served Kentucky during the Governor Ernie Fletcher Administration as Deputy Secretary of Commerce. There he oversaw a fifty-million-dollar budget and helped to manage human resources for the Cabinet. Of keen interest to the Commonwealth, he was part of the delegation that secured the presence of the renowned 2010 World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park located in Lexington, Kentucky.

Beyond his acumen as a successful government administrator, Derrick Ramsey is nationally known for his athletic prowess. In 1975, he served as the first African-American quarterback at the University of Kentucky, which included an impressive 10-1 season for the beloved Wildcats. His athletic abilities vaulted him to the NFL and a Super Bowl Championship in 1981.

As an undergraduate, he was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Kentucky. He pursued his graduate course at Eastern Kentucky University, ultimately earning a Master’s degree.

The Secretary resides with his wife, Lee Ramsey, in Lexington, Kentucky.

Deputy Secretary Michael J. Nemes

Mike Nemes is a former state lawmaker who served Kentucky's 38th House District. In this role, he was co-chair of the Labor and Industry Committee and served on the Judiciary and License & Occupation committees.

Prior to his time in the legislature, he worked 17 years for a soft drink bottler where he was a Teamster union steward. He then bought a bakery distributorship, where he built the business and sold it 13 years later.

From there, he went to the construction industry as a Project Coordinator for an insulation company. Here, Mike received OSHA training and worked with the Heat & Frost Insulators Union.

“I’m pleased to have Mike join me in leading the Labor Cabinet,” said Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey. “His legislative experience, paired with his years of business experience, makes him a tremendous advocate for Kentucky workers.”

Mike and his wife Angie currently invest in real estate and reside in Bullitt County. They have four children and 6 grandchildren.

Office of General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel provides legal representation and advice to the Secretary of Labor and other cabinet personnel with regard to the administration and enforcement of Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapters 207 (Equal Opportunities), 336 (Labor Cabinet), 337 (Wage & Hour, Prevailing Wage), 338 (Occupational Safety & Health), 339 (Child Labor), 342 (Workers’ Compensation Special Fund & Kentucky Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund), 343 (Apprenticeship & Training), 345 (Collective Bargaining of Firefighters), and 67C.400-418 (Collective Bargaining for Police Officers).

Department of Workers' Claims

With the support of Governor Matthew G. Bevin, the DWC is committed to improving customer service and reducing costs to our customers in the Commonwealth.

The Department of Workers' Claims is the agency primarily charged with the administration of the Kentucky program and has exclusive jurisdiction over workers' compensation claims. Our website is designed to provide users with helpful information on the functions of the Commonwealth's workers' compensation program.

We welcome analysis of the subject matter and would appreciate receipt of your comments and suggestions. Send us your comments by writing to:

Department of Workers' Claims
Attn: Information & Research
657 Chamberlin Avenue, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Fax: 502-564-5732


Department of Workplace Standards

The Department of Workplace Standards has the statutory authority and oversight to carry out the administrative duties of the Divisions of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Mediation, Workers’ Compensation Funds, Labor-Management Relations and Mediation and the Occupational Safety and Health Program.

This Department of Workplace Standards has the responsibility of enforcing the statutes established in Chapters 207, 336, 337, 338, 339, 342, and 345 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes.

The Division of Workers' Compensation Funds is responsible for the administration of the Special Fund and the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Fund. This responsibility includes payment of claims and maintenance of appropriate records.

The Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Mediation are responsible for the enforcement of wage and hour laws, child labor laws, various discrimination laws, and the management and enforcement of prevailing wage rate determinations. This division is also responsible for the oversight and promotion of the state’s registered Apprenticeship and Training program.

Labor-Management Relations and Mediation provide resources to the Commonwealth's entire workforce to meet their labor-management relations needs.

The Occupational Safety and Health Program exercises jurisdiction for the enforcement, on-site consultation, standards promulgation, and training services related to workplace safety and health.

Small Business Ombudsman

The Labor Cabinet Small Business Ombudsman is responsible for responding to inquiries from small businesses on administrative regulation and other regulatory matters and providing information regarding the procedure for submitting comments on administrative regulations as provided by KRS 13A.270(1). Please contact the ombudsman if you have questions about Labor Cabinet regulations or comments that you would like to submit about proposed regulations.

Contact the Small Business Ombudsman

J. Brooken Smith
Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary
1047 U.S. Highway 127 South
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Phone: (502) 564-0688

Note:The Small Business Ombudsman is separate and serves a different function than the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which as the Ombudsman, generally, for the Labor Cabinet, is responsible for investigating complaints and/or allegations of civil and/or possibly criminal violations committed by Labor Cabinet employees and/or the public working with the Labor Cabinet. The OIG may be contacted at 1049 U.S. Highway 127 South, Annex 2, Frankfort, KY, 40601 or by phone at 502-564-1985.

Office of Inspector General

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) serves to increase accountability and oversight of the Labor Cabinet, to assist in improving agency operations, and to identify and deter fraud, waste, abuse and other improper conduct relating to Cabinet operations and programs.

The OIG is authorized to conduct investigations, audits, inspections and other reviews in accordance with professional standards that relate to the field of investigation and auditing in a government environment. The OIG may issue written reports of factual findings, make recommendations for improving policies and procedures, and refer matters for civil, administrative, and criminal action where appropriate. OIG also serves as the ombudsman for the Labor Cabinet.

As the ombudsman, the OIG acts as a problem-solving entity and handles complaints and general inquiries about the Labor Cabinet. Our office works with individuals to answer questions and resolve complaints about their interactions with the Labor Cabinet.

In some instances, this may involve referring individuals to the appropriate agency within the Labor Cabinet who can assist in the resolution of the individual’s question or issue. In other instances, the complaint or concern may give rise to an official investigation which results in a report of factual findings to the Secretary of the Labor Cabinet. It is the goal of the OIG to be a resource for individuals who have exhausted all other resources or need additional information and do not know where to turn.

The OIG recognizes that the vast majority of state employees are committed to serving the Commonwealth with the highest degree of integrity. Our office is dedicated to the principle that no public servant, regardless of position, is above the law and/or can operate outside the bounds of Cabinet policies and procedures. The strength of our government is built on the character of the individuals who uphold the public trust and who have elected to serve that public.


Office of Inspector General:
1049 U.S. Highway 127 South, Annex 2
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Phone: (502) 564-1985


The Kentucky Labor Cabinet is seeking student internship applicants who are interested in working areas of Apprenticeship, Occupational Safety and Health Education and Training, Office of Inspector General, and the Kentucky Workers' Compensation Funding Commission.

To apply, applicants should:

I. Review the student internship descriptions listed above, and if interested, complete an application by applying for a “Co-Op/Intern” Position (56033BR) on the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet's website:
Visit the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet website for job postings.

II. After completing the online application, please forward a cover letter expressing interest, a current resume, 2 writing samples and 2 letters of recommendation to

III. Upon receiving the online application, the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet will email the student about required information needed from their university or college, including an Academic Credit Agreement and a transcript.

Questions regarding all Labor Cabinet internships may be directed to or by calling 502-782-0713.