It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Ohio statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area to ensure a legal working environment. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Ohio labor laws every small business owner should know.


First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:


  • Sick Leave: Employers do not have to provide paid or unpaid sick leave, but if an employer chooses to include a sick leave policy in the employee handbook, it must comply with the terms. 
  • Medical Leave: An employer may be required to provide unpaid leave in accordance with the federal laws in the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Vacation Leave: Ohio law does not require employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time, but if they choose to do so, they must comply with the established policy. 
    • Employers may deny employees payment for unused accrued vacation time upon separation from employment, as long as the policy is clear and established. 
    • Employers can also disqualify an employee from payment of accrued vacation when they are separated from employment if they do not comply with certain requirements, such as not giving a two-week notice. 
    • Employers can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation policy that requires employees to use their vacation time by a certain date.
  • Jury Duty: Employers are not required to pay an employee for time spent responding to a jury summons, but employees cannot be terminated or penalized for doing so. 
    • Employers may not request that an employee use any available vacation or sick leave to respond to a jury summons. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid time off or unpaid leave for holidays, but must comply with any policy they have established. 
  • Voting Leave: Employees who take a reasonable amount of time off to vote cannot be penalized or terminated.
    • Employers are only required to pay salaried employees for time taken off to vote. 
  • Bereavement Leave: State laws do not require bereavement leave to be provided by employers. 

Final Paycheck

Ohio wage and hour laws do not dictate when an employer must pay the final paycheck to an employee who leaves their position for any reason, whether they were terminated, resigned, or were laid off. 

Minimum Wage

  • The current minimum wage in Ohio is $8.55 for employers who earn more than $314,000 in gross annual receipts.
  • Employers who earn less than $314,000 in gross receipts are only required to abide by the federal minimum wage laws, which dictate that employees must be paid a minimum of $7.25. 

Tipped Wages

  • The current minimum wage for tipped employees in Ohio is $4.30.
  • There are no Ohio laws dictating requirements for tip pooling or sharing. 

Child Labor

  • Minors 14 and 15 years of age may only work 3 hours on a school day and 8 hours on a non-school day. 
    • When school is in session, they are subjected to the following time restrictions: 
      • They may only work 18 hours a week unless they are participating in a legitimate vocational training program, in which case they may work in excess of 40 hours a week. 
      • They may not work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. between Sept. 1 and June 1, except during prolonged school holidays, when they may work until 9 p.m. 
    • When school is not in session, they are subject to the following time restrictions: 
      • They may work no more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. 
      • They may not work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
    • Minors 16 and 17 years of age have no restrictions on the number of hours they may work in a workday or week, but they must follow the following when school is in session:
      • They may not work before 7 a.m. unless they did not work past 8 p.m. the previous night, in which case they may not work before 6 a.m. 
      • They may not work after 11 p.m. if a school day follows. 
  • Employers must provide minor employees with a written statement regarding how much the minor will be paid.
  • Employers must also provide a statement of earnings by each payday indicating hours worked and the wages earned. 

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • Minors must be given a break, either paid or unpaid, of at least 30 minutes after working 5 consecutive hours. 
  • Lunch breaks and other rest periods are not required for employees 18 years of age and older. 
  • Any breaks the employer provides that are over 20 minutes do not have to be paid provided the employee is free to leave the premises and does not perform work. 
  • Employers must pay employees an overtime rate of pay equal to 1 ½ times the regular rate for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. 

Employment Discrimination

  • Ohio law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age (over 40), ancestry, sexual orientation, military or veteran status. 
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.       


Ohio is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory, there is no contract to the contrary, and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

There are no laws in Ohio dictating how shifts are scheduled. 

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