Does A Criminal Record Stop You Getting A Job?
There are plenty of people in the UK that have a criminal record. In fact, recent government stats revealed that almost 17% of people have some type of criminal conviction on their record.
Most of these convictions are for minor offences such as failure to pay a speeding fine or petty theft. But, however trivial the offence may seem, having a criminal record still weighs people down and can make it feel much more difficult to get accepted, or even interviewed, for a job position.
But are these fears founded in reality? Does a criminal record prevent you from getting a job in this day and age? Let’s find out.
What convictions show up on a criminal record?
Before we look at the effect that a criminal record may have on your job prospects, let’s first examine what actually shows up on a criminal record.
The first thing to do when looking at whether a conviction shows up on a DBS check is to work out whether the conviction is spent or unspent.
To make life more fair for people convicted of offences, most convictions become spent at some point after the date the conviction was issued. In other words, when a conviction becomes spent, it drops off your criminal record and when this happens it will not show up on a basic DBS check. Spent convictions still show up on a standard or enhanced DBS check.
There are different timeframes set out for convictions to become spent. Here are the rehabilitation periods that are in place for various types of conviction:
- Community orders – If you’re sentenced to a community order, it will drop off as a spent conviction after one year following the end of the order.
- Fines only – Once the fine has been set, the conviction will drop off the person’s criminal record after one year.
- Prison sentences up to 6 months – becomes spent after 2 years of the end of the sentence.
- Prison sentences from 6 to 30 months – becomes spent after 4 years of the end of the sentence.
- Prison sentences from 30 months to 4 years – becomes spent after 7 years of the end of the sentence.
After a conviction has become spent, it will not appear on a basic DBS check. However, it will show up on standard or enhanced DBS checks as they reveal both spent and unspent convictions.
Standard and enhanced DBS checks are required for jobs that have a safeguarding element, either due to working with children or vulnerable adults.
Unspent convictions show up on all levels of DBS check as they have not yet met the timeframe and eligibility to become spent. If you are asked to disclose convictions on a job application and you have unspent convictions on your record, then you must do so, by law.
Do criminal convictions make you less employable?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. Whether an employer will disregard or see past a criminal conviction depends on the nature of the crime or crimes committed.
An employer will definitely think twice if a criminal background check reveals a conviction related to the job role. For instance, if you are applying for a job as a delivery driver and you have multiple convictions for driving offences, your application will probably be rejected.
Severe crimes such as violent or sexual assaults will also rule you out of certain jobs, especially those that have a safeguarding element.
However, employers are not allowed to discriminate against people based on their criminal record if the convictions are not related to the job in hand and sufficient time has passed since the conviction for it to be considered spent, under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Honesty is the best policy
When it comes to criminal convictions on your record, the best thing to do is be completely open and honest with your employer. Make sure that you don’t hide anything and you’re not tempted to pool the wool over their eyes. If you do not disclose a criminal conviction and it later shows up on a DBS check, you will lose all credibility and can even be prosecuted under the law.
If you need a DBS check or want to find out more about any of the issues mentioned above, get in touch with us today and one of our expert team will be more than happy to help.