I. General Policy
The Purpose of this policy is to define the probationary period for staff who are hired by Rice University as employees into full time or part time positions at the University. The probationary period is the first six (6) months of employment in a position during which the University carefully assesses the staff member's performance to determine at the outset of their employment whether they are able to meet the expectations of the position. It is also a period of adjustment to the requirements of the job and the University. At any time during this period, either party may terminate employment, as, absent special circumstances, employment at Rice University is an "at will" relationship.
II. Roles and Responsibilities
A. The Office of Human Resources - provides guidance to supervisors regarding performance issues involving a probationary staff member and will assist in extending the probationary period when necessary. Human Resources also facilitates Rice New Employee Orientation for all new Rice employees to attend.
B. Supervisors - are responsible for onboarding their staff, establishing expectations, and providing feedback concerning performance and behavior. Supervisors are responsible for contacting Human Resources prior to discussing probationary extension or termination with a staff member.
C. Staff member - a new staff member, or a staff member who has changed jobs, is expected to take the opportunity of the probationary period to learn the job and seek advice and feedback from their supervisor on their job performance.
A. Probationary Period. The probationary period is the first six (6) months of employment in a position during which the University carefully assesses the staff member's performance to determine whether they are able to meet the expectations and stated job duties of the position.
B. Transfer. A transfer is a lateral move by a staff member to a vacant position within the same pay grade, either within the current department or in a new department.
C. Promotion. A promotion is a move by a staff member to a vacant position at a higher level, either within the current department or in a different department.
D. Demotion. A demotion is a move by a staff member to a vacant position at a lower level, either within the current department or in a new department.
IV. Elaboration of Policy
A. Probationary Period
For new staff, the first six (6) months of employment at Rice University are the probationary period. Current staff who apply for and are promoted, demoted or transferred to a different position also must complete a six (6) month probationary period.
In the event the staff member does not meet job requirements and/or performance standards during the promotion/transfer probationary period, the supervisor should communicate performance concerns with the staff member as early in the probationary period as possible
B. Extension of Probationary Period
Probationary periods of greater than six (6) months (probationary period extensions) may be established under certain circumstances with the prior approval of Human Resources. In the event that the staff member does not meet or perform job duties during the probationary period, the supervisor may choose to extend the probationary period after consultation with Human Resources. The staff member will be provided written notice of an extended probationary period. The probationary period may not extend beyond the staff member's first twelve months of employment in their position.
C. Time in Position Requirement
A staff member must complete their probationary period, as a time in position requirement, prior to seeking employment in another University department. Exceptions to this requirement may be made for the convenience and advancement of the University as determined by Human Resources.
D. Pay Adjustments
No pay adjustments are made during the probationary period. Pay adjustments are defined as pay increases, bonuses, or any other payment outside of the staff member's salary.
E. Paid Time Off During Probationary Period
Paid time off is not vested until the first six months of employment have been completed; however, a supervisor may approve the use of paid time off during the probationary period .
If a staff member separates from Rice within the first six months of employment , any paid time off taken will be deducted from the final paycheck. Any accrued, unused paid time off will not be paid out during the probationary period.
V. Cross References to Related Policies
Rice University Policy 401: Staff Expectations for Working at Rice
Rice University Policy 405: Paid Time Off
Rice University Policy 406: Promotion and Transfer
Rice University Policy 411: Performance Commitment and Accountability
Rice University Policy 413: Employment
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 Office: Human Resources
VII. Procedures and Forms
David W. Leebron, President
January 18, 2023
August 15, 2023