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Meal and Break Rules in Colorado

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on June 2, 2012.

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Employers in Colorado must comply with these state rules relating to meals and break times.

In Colorado, the meal and break rules apply to the following four industries:

  • retail and service
  • commercial support service
  • food and beverage
  • health and medical

In all these industries, employees are entitled to an uninterrupted and "duty free" meal period of at least thirty minutes when the scheduled work shift exceeds five consecutive hours of work. The employees must be completely relieved of all duties and permitted to pursue personal activities to qualify as a non-work, uncompensated period of time.

When the nature of the business activity or other circumstances exist that makes an uninterrupted meal period impractical, the employee shall be permitted to consume an "on-duty" meal while performing duties without any loss of time or compensation.

Employees are to be given a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked.

Administrative, executive, professional, and outside sales employees are exempt.

Retail and service. Any business or enterprise that sells or offers for sale, any service, commodity, article, goods, real estate, wares or merchandise to the consuming public, and that generates 50% or more of its annual dollar volume of business from such sales. The retail and service industry offers goods or services that will not be made available for resale. It also includes amusement and recreation, public accommodations, banks, credit unions, savings and loans, and includes any employee who is engaged in the performance of work connected with or incidental to such business or enterprise, including office personnel.

Commercial support service. Any business or enterprise engaged directly or indirectly in providing services to other commercial firms through the use of service employees who perform duties such as:

  • clerical
  • keypunching
  • janitorial
  • laundry or dry cleaning
  • security
  • building or plant maintenance
  • parking attendants
  • equipment operators
  • landscaping and grounds maintenance

Commercial support service also includes temporary help firms which provide employees to any business or enterprise covered by this wage order. Any employee, including office personnel, engaged in the performance of work connected with or incidental to such business or enterprise, is covered by the provisions of this wage order.

Food and beverage. Any business or enterprise that prepares and offers for sale, food or beverages for consumption either on or off the premises. Such business or enterprise includes but are not limited to:

  • restaurants
  • snack bars
  • drinking establishments
  • catering services
  • fast-food businesses
  • country clubs
  • any business or establishment required to have a food or liquor license or permit
  • any employee who is engaged in the performance of work connected with or incidental to such business or enterprise, including office personnel

Health and medical. Any business or enterprise engaged in providing medical, dental, surgical or other health services including but not limited to:

  • medical and dental offices
  • hospitals
  • home health care
  • hospice care
  • nursing homes
  • mental health centers
  • any employee who is engaged in the performance of work connected with or incidental to such business or enterprise, including office personnel

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