Benefits at Rice

The Human Resources team at Rice University is committed to providing university faculty and staff with comprehensive information regarding benefits. Rice University offers a wide range of health and welfare benefits and several retirement options. These benefits are an important part of the total compensation package. Employees are encouraged to review all of the information available via this website in order to determine how to best apply these benefits to the individual, and personal situations.

POLICY 403 - Benefits Eligibility

Enrollment assistance is available by calling at 713-348-BENE (2363) or opening a service ticket in iO.

Holidays and Paid Time Off

Staff Holidays - Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023)

Staff Holidays - Fiscal Year 2024 (July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024)

Holiday Date Observed
Memorial Day Monday, May 29, 2023
Juneteenth National Independence Day Monday, June 19, 2023
FY 2024 FY 2024
Independence Day Monday - Tuesday, July 3 - 4, 2023
Labor Day Monday, September 4, 2023
Thanksgiving Holiday Thursday - Friday, November 23-24, 2023
Christmas Holiday Monday, December 25, 2023
Winter Recess Tuesday - Friday, December 26 - 29, 2023
New Year's Day Monday, January 1, 2024
M.L. King Jr. Day Monday, January 15, 2024
Memorial Day Monday, May 27, 2024
Juneteenth National Independence Day Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy

Rice University grants staff members an amount of paid benefit time during which an employee may be absent for any reason, including vacation, personal business, illness, or religious holidays. Benefit time must be scheduled in advance with supervisors, who approve requests according to departmental workload and staffing levels.

POLICY 405 - Paid Time Off

Basis of Benefit Time Accumulation and Schedules

The rate at which an employee accumulates benefit time depends on whether the employee's position is classified by the FLSA overtime provisions as exempt "professional, executive, or administrative staff", non-exempt "technical or support staff", or classified by Rice University as "a postdoctoral research associate." The rate of accumulation also depends on the seniority date.

On a professional, executive, administrative, technical, or support staff member's anniversary of employment, he or she may carry forward a maximum of one year's accumulated benefit time. He or she then begins accumulating additional days or hours of benefit time.

Postdoctoral research associates (postdocs) regardless of their length of service, accumulate benefit time at the same rate as exempt staff members with less than 10 years of service.

Part-time employees accumulate benefit time according to the percentage of a full year they regularly work.

In order to accumulate paid time off for any given pay cycle, the employee must work or be on paid time off (other than short-term disability leave or Worker's Compensation) at some point during that pay cycle (semi-monthly for exempt staff, bi-weekly for non-exempt staff).

New employees have no entitlement to their accumulated benefit time until they have completed 6 months of continuous benefits-eligible employment. New employees may, with the supervisor's permission, use benefit time in the first six months of employment.

Benefit Time Accumulation Schedules:

Full-Time, Non-Exempt Technical and Support Staff

Length of continuous benefits-eligible service Number of days per employment year
0 - 5 anniversary 16
5 - 10 anniversary 21
10 + years 26

Technical and support staff may take benefit time in half-hour increments.

Full-Time, Exempt Professional, Executive, and Administrative Staff

Length of continuous benefits-eligible service Number of days per employment year
0 - 10 anniversary 21
10 + years 26

Professional, executive, and administrative staff should generally take time in full-day increments and may be required to do so.

Coordination With Short-term Disability Program

In the case of major illness or injury (not work-related), the first five days of leave are covered with available benefit time. If the individual does not have any benefit time available, these first five days will be unpaid. Thereafter, short-term disability coverage, if available, may be used according to the provisions of that program. Unpaid leave in excess of accrued benefit time may also be available for a serious health condition.

POLICY 423 - Short-Term Disability Pay Continuation

POLICY 417 - Family and Medical Leave Act

Payout of Benefit Time at Termination

The payout of unused benefit time to a staff member with at least six months of continuous benefits-eligible service who terminates from Rice for any reason will be no more than one year’s accrual based on FTE and years of service.

Helpful Enrollment Videos

How do I enroll in Benefits?

¿Cómo me inscribo en los beneficios?

Providing Documentation for my Benefits Enrollment and/or Qualified Life Event

How do I Add, Make Changes, or Cancel Benefits?

Benefits FAQs

For a full list, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Other Benefits

OWL Perks

Working for Rice is a hoot! There’s so much to love about being a Rice employee: comprehensive benefits, exclusive discounts on campus, access to great services and facilities, and even connections to the Houston community. Our goal is to list as many as we can here to make sure everyone takes full advantage of the unconventional perks Rice has to offer.


Seasonal Flu Shots - Rice provides on-campus seasonal flu shots and health screenings to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff annually. Look for an email announcing the dates and times each year

Rice Bookstore Discounts - All Rice employees may stop by the bookstore and enjoy 10 percent off of everything except textbooks, computer software, and computer hardware.

Banking Perks - As a Rice University employee, you have access to membership and special discounts at several area banks, including Smart Financial Credit Union, Frost Bank, and Chase Bank.

Commuter Benefits - Train. Bus. Vanpool. Parking your car at the station or at a non-Rice facility. However you ride, the Commuter Benefits Program lets you pay for your eligible commuting costs through automatic, pre-tax payroll deductions. It works wherever you do: for any transit system, anywhere, plus any non-Rice parking provider or vanpool operator nationwide.

Rice has partnered with the MetroStar program to offer you the opportunity to participate in vanpooling with other people that live and work in the same area. To get started, you will want to click on one of the following links most applicable to you. You will complete a brief confidential profile regarding your commuting needs (work schedule, location, etc.). MetroStar will review and contact you regarding routes and availability for you.

Equipment Checkout Services - Need access to electronic equipment that you don’t have? No problem. Fondren Library and the Digital Media Commons (DMC) partner to allow employees to check out still cameras, video cameras, adapters, lighting, tripods, microphones, computers, and more with a Rice ID.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness - Rice University is a qualified employer under the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The federal PSLF is a program that allows certain federal student loans to be forgiven after 10 years of repayment. To benefit, borrowers need to have a qualifying loan and sign up for a qualifying repayment plan.

Smoking Cessation - Rice has implemented a tobacco/nicotine user surcharge of $50/month/user. We will ask you questions during open enrollment that will allow us to determine if you, your spouse, or both of you are tobacco/nicotine users. If you want help in quitting, we have a new tobacco cessation program called Quit Genius. There is no cost to you for Quit Genius.

Quit Genius Overview

Rice University Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

With the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Rice employees and their loved ones (living in the same household) can access free, convenient, and confidential services on a variety of different topics. Some of the services Rice’s EAP offers include counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional, legal and financial resources, WorkLife referrals, and more. All EAP services are private and completely confidential. An experienced consultant is just a phone call away!

Rice’s EAP offers information, advice, and support on a wide range of everyday issues, including:

Stress & Anxiety Everyday Issues
Work Conflicts Education
Parenting & Family Concerns Health and Wellness
Couples & Relationship Issues Change & Life Transitions
Grief or Bereavement Financial
Anger Management Legal
Alcohol & Drug Problems Work & Life Resources

The Rice University EAP is administered by the University of Texas’ Employee Assistance Program (UTEAP), located in the Texas Medical Center. UTEAP provides experienced consultants offering face-to-face sessions on specific issues, free informational booklets, audio recordings, and referrals to resources and services in your community. Every Rice employee (and members of your household), has access to three free counseling sessions per issue, in addition to the other resources available online. Rice’s EAP is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You may contact a UTEAP consultant at (713) 500-3327 or toll-free at (800) 346-3549 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you may access Rice’s EAP online portal (Username: owls; Password: owls) to take advantage of helpful resources.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact or

Bright Horizons Back-up Child and ElderCare

Scrambling over summer family responsibilities? Don’t forget about your Bright Horizons® benefits! Reserve back-up or find reliable full-time child care — you even have access to care at a nearby campus; keep your family going full speed ahead with sitters, pet care, and household help; and put academics front and center with discounted tutoring and test prep, educational enrichments, and virtual tutoring.

Access Your Benefits
Employer Username: Rice | Password: backup7
Download the App: Search "back-up care" in the App Store or Google Play

Lactation Room

What is a "Mothers'/Lactation Room?"

The location rooms on campus are places for nursing mothers to pump breast milk or nurse their children in a private and comfortable setting.

Where are they located?

There are two:

  • The first is located in the renovated "lounge" area in the women's restroom near the Grand Hall in the RMC. It is a secure, private, walled-off environment with a sink, refrigerator, etc.
  • The second is located on the fourth floor of Fondren Library in Room 411. Visit Fondren Library's Mother's Room page for a list of features.

I'm a new mom and would like to use this room—how do I access it?

RMC Location: Stop by the Information Desk in the RMC/Ley Student Center to get the access code—no key is necessary. Please do not share the code with others, as we would like this space reserved only for those who need it.

Fondren Location: A key is available for checkout during Visitor Hours at the East Entrance (quad side) Service Desk. For more information, please visit Fondren Library's Mother's Room page.

Group Legal

UltimateAdvisor® legal insurance from ARAG offers you affordable, reliable counsel when something in life turns into a legal issue, like a dispute with a contractor, a traffic ticket, or the need for estate planning.

For $22.00 monthly, you can enroll in the plan and have a place to turn to for help, with access to a nationwide network of attorneys who can provide counsel, review documents, and represent you if needed. Best of all, when you work with a Network Attorney, you don’t pay any attorney fees for most covered matters. This video explains more.

If you have any questions, call 800-247-4184 to speak with an ARAG Customer Care Specialist. To see a full list of coverages available under your plan, visit (access code: 18544ru) and go to “Plan Details.”

Available services include:

  • Caregiving
  • Identity theft protection
  • Consumer protection
  • Criminal or driving matters
  • Debt-related matters
  • Family matters
  • Landlord/Tenant or real estate homeowner issues
  • Wills and estate planning
Tuition Benefits

As an institution of higher education, learning and ongoing education is important to us. There are several policies that apply to benefits-eligible faculty and staff:

Tuition Remission

Rice University provides eligible dependents of benefits-eligible staff and faculty with remission of up to eight semesters of undergraduate tuition at Rice. This can also include up to two semesters of an approved study abroad program or tuition at other universities having reciprocal tuition arrangements with Rice. For More Information Please see University Policy 430.

To apply for these benefits, please complete the Application for Tuition Remission form on the HR Services and Forms page- tuition benefits section - and return it to the benefits group by opening a service request in iO or by e-mailing

Tuition Reimbursement

All benefits-eligible faculty and staff with 6 months or more of service may apply for tuition reimbursement for classes at other institutions. Tuition Reimbursement will cover 75% of tuition and fees up to $2,500 per fiscal year. There is no course limit per semester, but employees must earn a grade of C or better on courses taken for credit. Certain classes within the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, the Jones School of Business, and Rice Summer School are also eligible for tuition reimbursement.

Additionally, Tuition Reimbursement will cover 100% of the cost of General Education Development (GED) courses and exam fees.

For more information on Rice's Tuition Reimbursement Policy, please see University Policy 432. To apply for reimbursement, please complete the Application for Tuition Reimbursement on the HR Services and Forms page - tuition benefits section - and return it to the benefits group by opening a service request in iO or by e-mailing