Policy Number: 410

Policy Suffix:

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 staff member or the employer may end the employment relationship with or without cause, 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. Definitions

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.

Essential Functions: Functions required to keep the university operable during an emergency, holidays and recess days.

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.

Exempt Employee. Executive, professional and administrative positions that meet the Fair Labor Standards Act criteria for exempt status. Individuals in these positions are not eligible for overtime compensation.

Non-exempt Employee. Positions, typically technical and support positions, that do not meet the Fair Labor Standards Act criteria for exempt status. Individuals in these positions are eligible for overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek.

IV. Elaboration of Policy

  1. Job and 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 are based on performance, conditions at the University, fiscal constraints, market conditions, and the general rate of inflation as reported in the Consumer Price Index.

  1. 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.

  1. Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The FLSA is a federal law requiring that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, and non-exempt employees be paid overtime pay at one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

  1. 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.

  1. Workweek

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.

  1. Hours Worked by Non-Exempt Employees

Any time worked must be paid regardless of the location where 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.

  1. Overtime

Overtime may be worked only with prior approval of the non-exempt employee’s supervisor. If the employee works overtime hours without prior approval, the employee must notify the supervisor immediately about the overtime hours worked. 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 are 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) Paid Time Off (PTO)
Hours worked before/after a normally scheduled shift Paid holidays (paid, and not worked)
Hours worked on a holiday or during winter recess Recess or winter break
Crisis hours worked (in accordance with Crisis Pay Guidelines) Breaks more than 20 minutes
Jury duty
  1. 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.

  1. Breaks

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.

  1. Break Time and Space for Nursing Parents

Rice University provides reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their 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.

  1. Holidays (Applies to benefits-eligible employees only)

Rice University normally observes certain state and federal holidays, including Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving (Thursday and Friday), Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Memorial Day. When a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the university typically will observe the holiday on Friday or Monday, respectively.

In addition, only essential functions are maintained during the winter recess between Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

i. Time Off Before or After a Holiday

To receive pay for designated holidays, an employee must be in an active status before and after the break. Employees on any kind of leave of absence are not eligible for holiday or recess pay.

Employees whose last workday is the last workday before the winter holidays (Christmas and New Year’s) and winter recess may use December 31st as the termination date.

ii. Holiday Pay for Employees

Non-exempt employees who are required by their supervisors to work on University holidays to perform essential functions are paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked on a holiday. In addition, they will receive eight hours of holiday pay (pro-rated for part-time employees based upon their FTE). Please note that hours worked on the actual holiday and the day on which the University observes the holiday, if different, are compensated at the premium rate of 1.5 times their regular pay rate.

Non-exempt employees who are required to work during the winter recess are paid at their regular rate of pay for all hours worked. In addition, they will receive eight hours of recess pay, paid at their regular pay rate (pro-rated for part-time employees based upon their FTE).

Exempt employees who are required by their supervisors to work on University holidays to perform essential functions are not entitled to any additional pay; however, they may work with their supervisors to schedule an alternative day off within 30 days of the University-observed holiday.

iii. Holiday and Recess Time

For full-time employees, holidays and recess days are eight hours.

Part-time employees are eligible for holiday and recess time according to the percentage of a full year they regularly work. For example, a person who works 20 hours a week all year (50 percent of full time) would be entitled to four hours per day per holiday.

  1. 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.

  1. Voting

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 at or before 5:00 p.m., or report to work at or after 9:00 a.m., or if they are allowed a two-hour lunch break in order to vote.

  1. 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.

  1. Pay Deductions

With authorization from the employee, numerous deductions including, but not limited to, the following may be made from pay:

Insurance premiums

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

Parking fees

Commuter benefit elections

Delinquent Faculty Club charges

Payment of fines

Loan payments or repayments

Recreation Center

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

Medicare tax

Wage garnishments

Child support payments

Other FLSA or state law permitted deductions

  1. 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 and Crisis Pay Guidelines Matrix

VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation

Responsible Official: Executive Vice President for Operations, Finance, & Support

Key Offices: Human Resources; Payroll; Office of General Counsel


David W. Leebron, President

Policy History


June 2021 (clarifies that section K on holidays applies to benefits-eligible staff)

May 2021 (removes section on compressed work week which will be addressed in subsequent policy, incorporates what had been Policy 415 on Holidays and makes clerical corrections)

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)

Clerical Changes

October 4, 2022

September 30, 2022

February 1, 2023

August 15, 2023

March 4, 2024