I. General Policy
Rice University employs individuals on the basis of the University’s needs and individuals’ qualifications, and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, parental status, or military service. The University also seeks to attract qualified persons of diverse backgrounds and is committed through its affirmative action program to recruit, hire, and advance women, minority group members, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. Employment decisions are based on the qualifications of candidates in relation to job requirements.
Staff 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.
In its employment practices, Rice University conforms with all applicable Federal and State statutes and regulations. The University also may utilize the assistance of a professional employment organization to assure compliance with the applicable employment rules and regulations in the various countries where Rice operates. The University, as an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer, has a legal obligation to collect and maintain personal and employment data required for reporting purposes.
II. Roles and Responsibilities
A. Hiring Managers are those faculty and staff designated to make staff hiring decisions. Hiring managers are responsible for making such decisions in accordance with the policies and procedures established by the University. Each hiring manager is accountable for their actions in matters relating to applicable sections of this policy, compliance with federal and state laws and regulations governing employment, and performance in seeking to achieve affirmative action program goals. Questions on these policies that cannot be resolved at the department level should be referred to the Office of Human Resources.
B. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for developing, monitoring and overseeing employment policies; providing the University with support services necessary to attain staffing objectives; and ensuring compliance with applicable local, state, and federal statutes and regulations.
C. The Professional Employment Organization (PEO) is responsible for hiring employees on behalf of the University in countries outside of the United States. The University will be responsible for selecting and supervising the employees. However, the PEO will be the employer of record in country and will be responsible for their payroll; providing benefits comparable to Rice employees; filing all applicable employment related paperwork and taxes; and ensuring compliance with local labor and employment laws.
A. Regular position: A budgeted position when there is an ongoing need with an expected duration of six months or more.
B. Temporary position: A position when there is a specific and/or limited need with an expected duration of less than six months.
C. Term-limited position: A budgeted position with limited or defined need, funded for a defined period of time.
D. Benefits eligible employee: An employee whose position(s) requires 20 or more hours of work per week and at least 1,000 hours each year are eligible for Rice’s fringe benefits.
E. Exempt position: Positions that meet the Fair Labor Standards Act criteria for exempt status. Individuals in these positions are not eligible for overtime compensation.
F. Non-exempt position: 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.
G. Regular employee: Any employee who has an assignment in a regular or term-limited position.
H. Temporary employee: An employee whose only assignment is a temporary position.
I. Full-time employee: An employee who has a work schedule of 40 hours per week, 12 months per year (2080 hours per year).
J. Part-time employee: An employee who has a work schedule of fewer than 40 hours per week or fewer than 12 months per year.
IV. Elaboration of Policy
A. Employment Status
At Rice University, a staff member will fall into one of the following categories:
B. Regular Employment
The recruitment and hiring of staff members include the efforts to attract, identify, select, and hire the best qualified applicants that meet the University’s needs for open positions, whether they are internal applicants, former employees, or external applicants. Departments should conduct a competitive search for regular positions; the search should last long enough to achieve a suitable pool of applicants and to seek quality hiring outcomes.
Open positions must be posted in Rice’s applicant tracking system, and all applications must be received via Rice’s applicant tracking system. In order to be considered as a qualified applicant for a posted position, the individual must meet or exceed the posted requirements for the position.
Background checks are conducted for all regular and temporary positions. Offers of employment are contingent on the successful completion of a background check.
Employment offers to candidates for staff positions are made by Human Resources. Offers of employment for positions directly reporting to the President may be made by the President. Offers made by others are not permitted and may be subject to reversal.
All staff members, whether new to Rice or transferring to different positions within Rice, are subject to a six-month probationary period.
C. Temporary Employment
Departments may require temporary staff members to assist in completing various tasks and duties, such as:
- substituting for regular staff members on extended medical or family leave;
- covering vacancies for budgeted positions until the position is filled with a regular staff member, provided the recruitment and selection process to hire a regular staff member has begun; and
- handling new or special projects, or excessive workload(s), on a short-term basis.
Departments are strongly encouraged to work with staffing agencies approved by Human Resources to fill their temporary employment needs. This approach provides more flexibility in adjusting to changes in staffing needs, can be more cost efficient, and provides you access to well-trained, prescreened individuals with specialized skill sets.
Alternatively, departments may hire a temporary staff member at Rice rather than via a staffing agency. If this option is elected, temporary appointments may not exceed six months. Temporary Rice staff members who have worked at Rice for six months during the fiscal year will not be eligible to work in a temporary capacity until the beginning of the next fiscal year. If the department’s need extends beyond six months, they may hire a staff member into a regular staff position that is term limited.
Temporary staff members may apply for regular employment while working at Rice on a temporary basis, but regardless of benefits eligibility status or source of income (i.e., whether paid by Rice or by a temporary agency), they are not considered internal candidates.
V. Cross References to Related Policies
Rice University Policy 421: Probationary Period
Rice University Policy 424: Separation of Employment for Staff
Rice University Policy 425: Employment Background Check
Rice University Policy 815: Employment Opportunity / Non-Discrimination / Affirmative Action Policy
VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices to Contact Regarding the Policy and its Implementation
A. Responsible Official: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
B. Other Key Offices: Human Resources
VII. Procedures and Forms
David W. Leebron, President
January 19, 2018
September 30, 2022 (Updated responsible official)
August 15, 2023
September 28, 2021; March 31, 2008; March 19, 1996; 1993; July 6, 1979 (supersedes: 406-79)
414 Employment Definitions
439 Temporary Employment