Employers can’t turn someone down for a job just because they’ve been convicted of an offence if the conviction is ‘spent’.

Job applicants also don’t need to tell potential employers about spent convictions.

What counts as a spent conviction

Convictions with a sentence of 30 months or less will become spent after a certain period of time. This period is known as a ‘rehabilitation period’. Its length depends on how severe the penalty was.

Exceptions

If the job requires a criminal record check, and this shows that someone’s not suitable for a job because of a spent conviction, the employer can withdraw a job offer.

Criminal record checks are carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which used to be the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

It’s against the law to refuse someone a job because they’ve got a spent conviction, unless it’s because a DBS check shows that they’re unsuitable.

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