Can an employer force an hourly employee to take an unpaid break?

Asked on November 5, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In CO, all employers must authorize and permit rest periods. To the extent practical, it should be in the middle of each 4 hour work period. A compensated 10 minute rest period for each 4 hours shall be permitted for all employees. This means that such rest periods shall not be deducted from an employee's wages.
Additionally, all employees are entitled to an uninterrupted and "duty free" meal period of at least 30 minutes duration if the scheduled work shift exceeds 5 consecutive hours of work. Employees must be completely relieved of all duties and permitted to pursue personal activities to qualify as a non-work, uncompensated period. If circumstances exist that makes an uninterrupted meal period impractical, the employee shall be allowed to consume an “on-duty” meal while performing their job duties; employees shall be fully compensated for such a meal period without any loss of time and/or compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.