You probably provide your employees with meal and rest breaks, but are you required to do so by law? The Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that governs wage and hour rules, does not require you to provide meal and rest breaks. However, state laws, including Colorado law, may require some form of work break for certain employees.

You should understand the rules for when rest and meal breaks apply. The rules governing employee breaks in Colorado have recently changed and may change again in the future. In addition, there are numerous exemptions to the rules. Your understanding of these rules and regulations can help your business avoid costly litigation.

Meal and rest breaks in Colorado

Colorado law requires employers to provide workers with a half-hour, unpaid meal break if the worker is at a shift for five consecutive hours or longer. Colorado law also requires employers to provide workers with a paid, 10-minute rest period during each four-hour work period. The rest break requirement may also break down into major fractions, instead of an explicit, four-hour period.

In general, these breaks must go uninterrupted. If an employee must perform a work-related function during the break period, it will not count as a meal or rest break.

Exemptions to the rules

These rules do not apply to all employees. Employees who may be exempted include:

  • Administrative professionals
  • Executives
  • Supervisors
  • Outside sales employees
  • Domestic employees in private residences
  • Taxicab drivers

Keep up-to-date and avoid litigation

You should keep yourself informed of any changes and ensure that your business is following the law.

You face the possibility of a wage and hour lawsuit if you do not provide your employees with their required breaks. A wage and hour suit can be costly. Complying with the required rules and regulations can help you keep your employees happy and avoid costly litigation.