I. General Policy
Rice University is committed to paying staff fairly and competitively for the work performed and, to maintaining compensation practices in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations. All employees will be compensated fairly regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or marital status. Individual staff pay rates take into consideration the duties and responsibilities of the position, relevant internal and external pay data, work performance, and the individual’s impact on the organization.
To ensure consistent, fair and competitive pay practices, Rice maintains a formal compensation program which includes a job structure, pay structure and compensation administration guidelines. Any compensation practices other than those explicitly stated in this policy and the compensation administration guidelines must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Human Resources before implementation, which includes those that are specific to a department, school or division.
Unless governed by a written contract, employment at Rice University is an "at will" relationship; either the employee or the employer may dissolve the employment relationship at any time.
II. Roles and Responsibilities
Non-exempt employees are responsible for accurately reporting the time they work.
Exempt employees are responsible for accurately reporting paid time off and other leave.
Supervisors are responsible for ensuring compliance with the University’s compensation policies, practices and guidelines.
The Office of Human Resources is responsible for overseeing compliance with University compensation policies, practices and guidelines and for updating as needed. Human Resources is responsible for administering the compensation programs.
III. Roles and Responsibilities
Compensation. Any payments made to, or on behalf of, an employee, or offered to an applicant as remuneration for employment.
Essential Job Functions. The fundamental job duties of the position an individual holds.
Essential Employees. An employee in a designated position who must report to work during an emergency. Such positions are designated by supervisors, documented in the job description, and included in the University Continuity of Operations Plan.
Pay Structure. A system used to manage pay for jobs at an organization. It is comprised of a series of pay grades, or levels of pay, each with an associated pay range, which includes minimum, midpoint and maximum amounts. Job classifications are assigned to the pay structure based on competitive pay data and the career progression within the job family.
Job Structure. A system of organizing jobs into groups that share common functional responsibilities and similar types of education, experience and skill requirements.
Overtime. Non-exempt employees are paid the federally required overtime rate of one-and-one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek. Employees who meet one of the exemptions under the FLSA are not eligible for overtime pay.
Merit Increases. A pay increase awarded to an employee in recognition of successful or exceptional performance. All Rice pay raises are merit-based. Rice does not provide cost of living increases.
IV. Elaboration of Policy
- Job & Pay Structures for Staff Positions.
Rice University uses a job classification system to determine the appropriate pay range for every employee in a regular staff position. Each position is assigned to a job classification and pay grade based upon a review of a job description. A regular study of labor market conditions and practices is completed to ensure pay practices and pay levels are competitive and equitable. Adjustments to pay ranges and salaries is based on performance, conditions at the University, fiscal constraints, market conditions, and the general rate of inflation as reported in the Consumer Price Index.
- Pay Administration Guidelines.
Guidelines, processes and practices related to employee pay can be found in the staff compensation administration guidelines. This includes information on the merit pay increase process; pay adjustments for promotions, reclassifications, additional duties; interim assignments; bonuses and one-time payments and other means of compensation. All personnel actions related to an employee’s pay or position are subject to Human Resources review and approval.
- Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA is a federal law that requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay for non-exempt employees at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.
- Pay Transparency.
Rice University will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the employee’s legal duty to furnish information.
The workweek is comprised of seven consecutive 24-hour periods, beginning at 12 a.m. on Sunday to the following Saturday at 11:59 p.m.
- Compressed Workweek.
A schedule that includes 40 work hours in fewer than five days out of seven (such as four ten-hour days) is called a compressed workweek. Rice University permits a compressed workweek when it will achieve, maintain, or enhance excellent service and performance. The supervisor, in consultation with the appropriate vice president, vice provost or dean or Director of Athletics, and with review by Human Resources, will determine whether a job is suitable for a compressed workweek schedule.
- Hours Worked by Non-Exempt Employees.
Any time worked must be paid regardless of the location the work was performed. Time worked that was not scheduled or authorized in advance by the supervisor must still be paid, but may result in corrective action.
Overtime may be worked only with prior approval of the non-exempt employee’s supervisor. If overtime is not approved prior to being worked, the employee is required to notify the supervisor immediately. Overtime that has not been authorized or approved in advance by the supervisor may result in corrective action.
Overtime hours must be reported and paid promptly and may not be carried over from workweek to workweek. This includes all overtime hours, whether or not approved in advance. Since Rice is a private employer, the FLSA strictly prohibits the practice of providing non-exempt employees compensatory time, or “comp time”, in future workweeks in lieu of paying overtime wages. The chart below provides additional information on pay types that are counted toward qualifying for overtime and those that do not.
Example of Hours that Count towards Qualifying for Overtime
Example of Hours that Do Not Count Towards Qualifying for Overtime
All hours worked (scheduled or before / after a normally scheduled shift)
Hours worked before/after a normally scheduled shift
Paid holidays (paid, and not worked)
Hours worked on a holiday or during winter recess
Crisis hours worked (in accordance with Crisis Pay Guidelines)
Paid Time Off (PTO)
Recess or winter break
Breaks more than 20 minutes
- Meal Periods.
Schedules for non-exempt employees working a full day should include a scheduled meal period of 30 to 60 minutes. Meal periods are unpaid unless the employee works during this time. Employees working during meal periods must obtain approval from their supervisor as working during scheduled meal periods will lead to additional hours and may result in overtime.
Breaks are not required by the FLSA. If business operations allow, breaks may be permitted by the supervisor. Breaks of 20 minutes or less are paid. Breaks longer than 20 minutes are unpaid. Break periods may not be combined with the meal period or with another break period, nor may they be used in order to report to work late or leave early. Break periods may not be accrued. If breaks are not taken during specified time frames, they are lost.
- Break Time and Space for Nursing Mothers.
Rice University provides reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has the need to express milk. Breaks of 20 minutes or less are paid. Those exceeding 20 minutes are unpaid. Further, upon request by the employee to the supervisor or Office of Human Resources, Rice University will provide a space or room, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.
- Compensatory Time.
Compensatory time is a method of awarding employees time off in lieu of paying overtime. Compensatory time is prohibited for non-exempt employees; however, supervisors may adjust an employee’s work schedule during the same workweek to keep their total hours at 40 hour or under to avoid paying overtime.
Texas law requires employers to give employees paid time off to vote unless the polls are open for two consecutive hours outside the employee's working hours. Thus employees are not eligible for paid time off on voting day if they regularly leave work on or before 5:00 p.m. or report to work on or after 9:00 a.m., or if they are allowed a two-hour lunch break in order to vote.
- Pay During a University Designated Emergency.
Crisis pay start and stop times will be defined by the Rice Crisis Management Team based on operational periods and resource requirements. Rice University will provide food and shelter to any essential employees working during the crisis period. Non-exempt essential employees will be paid for time worked and standby time as defined by the Crisis Pay Guidelines.
- Pay Deductions.
With authorization from the employee, numerous deductions, including, but not limited to, the following may be made from pay:
Medical care spending account contributions
Dependent care spending account contributions
Voluntary retirement plan contributions (403(b) and 457(b))
Charitable donations to Rice University
United Way contributions
Commuter benefit elections
Delinquent Faculty Club charges
Payment of fines
Loan payments or repayments
Re-payment of benefit time
Purchasing card (“P-card”) charges, including inappropriate P-card charges
Other amounts owed to Rice
Deductions from pay may be made in accordance with federal, state law or court orders, including, but not limited to:
Federal income tax
Social Security tax
Child support payments
Other FLSA or state law permitted deductions
- Imputed income
Under IRS regulations, certain reimbursements could be recorded as imputed income, and treated as taxable to the employee (e.g., relocation expenses reimbursed by employers are now taxable to the employee)
V. Cross References to Related Policies
For specific policies related to Human Resources, please see University Policies 401 to 439
See also, Crisis Pay Guidelines
VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation
Responsible Official: Vice President for Administration
Key Offices: Human Resources; Payroll; Office of General Counsel
David W. Leebron, President
January 15, 2020 (repeals and replaces 434 Compressed Work Week and 436 Compensation)
March 19, 1996; December 20, 1993; May 1, 1993
January 5, 1993 (superseding 401-82 and 410-84)