Criminal records and employment

A recent situation involving a Lawgistics members employee and a spent criminal conviction arose this week, prompting some research into the situation where cases like that arise.    

A spent conviction is a conviction which, under the terms of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, is ignored after a specified amount of time depending upon the sentence imposed.  A prison sentence of four years or more is never spent.  The table below gives the rehabilitation periods attached to sentencing for those sentenced when over 18.    

Prison sentence   Rehabilitation period (from end of sentence)

6 months or less 2 years
Between 6 months and 30 months 4 years
Between 30 months and 4 years 7 years
More than 4 years Conviction is never spent

Other punishments Rehabilitation period (from end of sentence)

Community order (such as unpaid work) 1 year
Fine 1 year (from date of conviction)
Absolute discharge (you were not given a punishment) None

Those with spent criminal convictions are not required to disclose them on applying for certain jobs and the If the conviction is spent, the employer may not refuse to employ someone or dismiss them on this basis, unless the role applied for is exempt, the list of which concerns positions of trust and positions working with children for example.  In these cases an employer can require a DBS check and take action according to the information revealed.  

Lawgistics Members can utilise HR Manager, an easy to understand, simple to use piece of software that enables you to manage all aspects of HR, Employment Law, Health and Safety and GDPR compliance for your business. HR Manager is FREE and available to all Lawgistics members. Call 01480 455500 to start using HR Manager today or to talk to your legal advisor.


Authors: Polly Davies

Published: 09 Dec 2019


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