New Pennsylvania Law Offers Qualified Employers Expanded Hiring Window

House Bill 764 allows specific employers that work with minors a 45-day provisional hiring period while the results of a background check are processed

Signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in February, the law negates the disparity between licensed child care centers and other businesses servicing minors as it relates to criminal background checks for job applicants. The bill was developed in response to certain seasonal employers (i.e. summer camps, pools, public parks) lodging complaints that prospective employees often sought employment elsewhere as a result of the lengthy process involved with receiving criminal background check results.

Several safeguards have been incorporated into HB 764 (now Act 12) pertaining to child care providers to ensure those hired to work with children are monitored closely during the provisional period. One safeguard of the Act stipulates that "the employer, administrator, supervisor or other person responsible for employment decisions requires that the applicant not be permitted to work alone with children and that the applicant work in the immediate vicinity of a permanent employee" until the individual passes the criminal background check requirements.

Safeguards also include requiring that employers have "no knowledge of information pertaining to the applicant which would disqualify him from employment;" the applicant must affirm the same in a written statement. Disqualifying information includes convictions for a list of serious crimes including (but not limited to) homicide, kidnapping and rape. In the event any of the listed crimes are ultimately reported on the final criminal background check, the law requires employers to immediately terminate the individual.

Employers are encouraged to review Act 12 in detail and adjust internal hiring processes and protocols as required. Employers should also revisit internal staff management and oversight policies for existing employees to ensure these individuals have been properly trained and educated about the supervisory stipulations related to the Act during the 45-day period.

Posted: March 10, 2022

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