Colorado employers must pay employees for all hours worked, also referred to as time worked. Hours or time worked includes all time an employee is either required or permitted to work and includes waiting time and standby time which is time an employee is required to remain at work even if they are not performing their typical job duties.
Examples of time for which employers must pay employees in addition to their typical job duties include:
- putting on or removing required work clothes or gear (but not a uniform worn outside work as well)
- receiving or sharing work-related information
- security or safety screening
- remaining at the place of employment awaiting a decision on job assignment or when to begin work
- performing clean-up or other duties “off the clock”
- clocking or checking in or out
- waiting for any of the preceding tasks
Colorado defines a workweek as a fixed and recurring period of 168 hours which is equivalent to seven (7) consecutive twenty-four (24) hour periods. The seven day period that forms the workweek must start on the same calendar day and at the same hour each week. CO Reg. 7 CCR 1103-1-1.12-13
Colorado requires employers to pay employees for waiting or standby time. Waiting or standby time are periods in which employees do not perform any job duties but remain under the control and direction of their employer and are not generally free to use the time to engage in personal pursuits.. CO Reg. 7 CCR 1103-1-1.9.
Colorado statutes and regulations do not specifically address on-call time. An employer is typically not required to pay employees for on-call time when the employee is free to leave the employer’s premises and is generally free to use the time to engage in personal pursuits. Under Colorado law, employers are required to pay employees for waiting time or standby time, which are periods the employee is not able to use the time for their own purposes and remains under the control and direction of their employer. CO Reg. 7 CCR 1103-1-1.9
When an employee is required to be on duty for 24 or more hours at a time, up to eight (8) hours of that time does not need to be included as hour worked if:
- the employee has expressly agreed that the time will be excluded;
- the employer provides adequate sleeping facilities for uninterrupted sleep;
- the employee is able to sleep for at least five (5) hours during the sleeping period; and
- any interruptions during the sleep period are counted as hours worked.
If the employee is not able to sleep for five (5) hours during the sleep period, all time during the period must be counted as hours worked.
When an employee is required to be on duty less than 24 hours, any sleep hours must be counted as hours worked if the employee is on duty and must work when required.
Colorado employers must pay employees for travel time if it at the control or direction of the employer. Employers are not required to pay employees for normal travel from home to work. CO Reg. 7 CCR 1103-1-1.9.2.
At the start or end of a workday, travel to or from work locations that are entirely with the employer’s premises or with employer-provided transportation is not considered time worked unless one of the following applies:
- the employee is engaged in job responsibilities during that time
- the employee is engaging in preparatory, informational, or other related tasks that are compensable under Colorado law
- travel is in an employer-mandated transportation and
- travel materially prolongs the employee’s commuting time
- the employee is subjected to heightened physical risk compared to an ordinary commute
Meeting, lecture, and training time
Colorado minimum wage laws requires employers to pay employee for meeting or training time if it involve worked related information. CO Reg. 7 CCR 1103-1-1.9.2
Colorado laws to do not otherwise address when an employer must count time spent by employees at meetings, lectures, and training as hours worked. The standards set forth in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act related to meeting, lecture, and training time may provide reasonable guidance.
Show up or reporting time
Colorado law does not require employers to pay employees for reporting or showing up to work if no work is performed. CO Department of Labor and Employment – Show-Up Time Pay An employer is also not required to pay an employee a minimum number of hours if the employer dismisses the employee from work prior to completing their scheduled shift. Employers are only required to pay employees for hours actually worked.