Hiring Someone with a Criminal Conviction – Frequently Asked Questions
This document has been prepared by IASIO for employers who are considering hiring someone with a criminal record, to address any questions or concerns they may have.
IASIO manages three criminal justice programmes, two of which are dedicated Employment Services that work with former offenders, both prisoners and probationers, supporting reintegration efforts, exploring future directions, and ultimately assisting with access to appropriate training, education and employment opportunities aligned to labour market trends.
IASIO is a community based organisation funded solely by the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service and employs 22 Training and Employment Officers (TEOs) nationwide in it’s Employment services. Between 200 and 2016, over 20,961 people have engaged with these services leading to over 15,045 placements in training, education and employment (6,089 directly into employment and 8,956 placements in training or education leading to employment). In our experience, some of the most frequently asked questions by employers are:
2. Can I trust the candidate:
- Not steal from my company, colleagues or customers?
- To be timely and regular in attending for work?
- To take instructions and supervision?
3. How do I balance wanting to be fair and open-minded with any potential risk to my employees and customers?
4. What information should I have about the ex-offender? How do I manage this sensitive information?
5. Should I disclose this information to others in the spirit of open communications and trust with all staff?
7. If I do decide to hire someone with a criminal record, is there anything I should do to ease the new employee’s transition into the work environment?
- Consideration needs to be given to developing senior management support. Their support is crucial: if an initiative is supported from the top, it will also be supported at the bottom. If necessary, a strong business case can help to engage their support (see question 1).
- The employee can and should be treated like any other, and certainly won’t want to be singled out for any special attention. However, it is important to be sensitive to the history of the employee, for example if he/she hasn’t worked in a while. A little patience may be beneficial for everyone.
- Many ex-offenders suffer from low self-esteem, and feel everyone is thinking the worst about them. It’s important to treat the new employee just like everyone else, to create a friendly and positive environment, and to provide clear instruction and expectations from the start of the employment.
- It might be a good idea to assign a ‘buddy’ to the newly-hired candidate for the first few days to help them learn the ropes and to ensure that they are not overwhelmed or isolated.
IASIO (Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders):
A highly skilled and dedicated team of 23 Training and Employment Officers around the country and in our prisons provides support to both the employer and the employee before and during the placement.
JobsPlus Incentive Scheme
The following information on the JobsPlus can also be found www.jobsPlus
JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who employ jobseekers on the Live Register. This incentive replaces the Revenue Job Assist and Employer Job (PRSI) Exemption Scheme from 1 July 2013. It is designed to encourage employers and businesses to employ people who have been out of work for long periods. Eligible employers who recruit full-time employees on or after 1 July 2013 may apply for the incentive.
The Department of Social Protection pays the incentive to the employer monthly in arrears over a 2-year period. It provides 2 levels of regular cash payments:
- A payment of €7,500 for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 12 but less than 24 months – see ‘JobsPlus for young people’ below
- A payment of €10,000 for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months
Since 1 January 2015, under the JobsPlus Youth part of the scheme, the qualifying period for JobsPlus for jobseekers aged under 25 has been reduced to 4 months. It remains at 12 months for other jobseekers. Eligible young people will be given certification that they qualify for the JobsPlus subsidy and they can use this when applying for jobs.
The European Commission is providing co-funding to JobsPlus for participants under 25 years. JobsPlus is jointly backed by the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and Department of Social Protection on an equal funding basis. For the period 2015 – 2017 the allocation from each of the ESF and YEI is €2.7m approx.
JobsPlus is available to all employers in the private (including commercial semi-state), community, not-for-profit and voluntary sectors. It is not open to public service employers. Employers can avail of Jobsplus when filling positions that arise as a consequence of natural turnover.
Employers must meet the following conditions:
• The business must be registered as a PAYE employer with Revenue
• The employer must be compliant with Irish tax and employment laws. Employers will be asked to give an officer of the Department of Social Protection permission to check your status with Revenue and to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate using Revenue’s on line service.
• The employer must offer full-time employment of over 30 hours per week, spanning at least 4 days per week. The eligible employee must be on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI.
• Employers must give details of workforce prior to application, where an increase in the work force is not evident employers will be asked to provide additional information to the Department to support the application.
You can find more information for employers in this list of frequently asked questions for JobsPlus employers.
Eligible employees must:
• Be getting Jobseeker’s Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition or signing on for credits.
• Be at least 12 months* (312 days) on the Live Register in the previous 18 months to qualify as an eligible employee for the €7,500 incentive. Since 1 January 2015, the qualifying period is 4 months (104 days) for young people aged under 25.
• Be at least 24 months* (624 days) on the Live Register in the previous 30 months to qualify as an eligible employee for the higher incentive of €10,000
*Periods spent on certain activation schemes, or time spent in prison may count this time towards the qualifying period once entitlement to one of the qualifying payments outlined above is re-established prior to commencing employment. Jobseekers’ payments paid in conjunction with periods of casual employment may count towards satisfying the qualifying period, as will breaks in jobseekers payments as a result of periods of illness during which Illness Benefit is paid.
People taking part in internships under JobBridge and the Work Placement Programme (WPP) who were getting a qualifying payment prior to their internship may be employed directly from these schemes once the required qualifying period and conditions are satisfied.
Family Income Supplement: New employees under the JobsPlus scheme may be entitled to get Family Income Supplement.
Medical card: People who have been unemployed for at least 12 months may keep their medical card for 3 years when they take up new employment.
Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplement: Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplement are not payable where a jobseeker or spouse are in full-time employment (30 hours or more a week). People who are already getting Rent Supplement may be able to keep it, subject to a means test, while they are working full time, as long as they are eligible for housing support under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). People already getting Mortgage Interest Supplement may be able to keep it while working full time as long as the gross household income does not exceed €317.43 a week.
You can read more information for jobseekers in this list of frequently asked questions for Jobsplus employees.
If approved, the employer will receive the following payments over a 2-year period for each eligible person they recruit and retain in employment:
|Has been unemployed for between 12 and 24 months (4 months if aged under 25)||€7,500|
|Has been unemployed for 24 months or more||€10,000|
Payment will be made monthly in arrears by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) over a 24-month period. It will not be taxable for income or corporation tax purposes.
If the application is refused the employer can request a review of the decision by a higher officer in the Department of Social Protection.
EmployersIf an employer decides to recruit an additional employee, they can log on to jobsplus.ie and complete an online application form giving, for example, the name of company, size of workforce, bank details and economic sector of company. Once this is submitted an officer of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) will review and check the tax clearance certificate is in order and email the employer if it is approved.
Once eligibility is confirmed by the DSP an employer may start to recruit, either by contacting their local Intreo centre or employment services office for details of suitably experienced and qualified candidates for their vacancy. They could also register the vacancy with Jobs Ireland.
Candidate employeesOnce preliminary interviews have been conducted and candidates have been shortlisted employers should then ask these candidates to log on to jobsplus.ie to check their eligibility for JobsPlus. The DSP will process their request and verify eligibility by posting a two-part JP1 form to the candidate. Part A of the JP1 form will confirm the employee’s eligibility and rate of payment for a prospective employer, Part B is to be completed by the employer if they choose to employ the candidate. The candidate should bring the two-part JP1 form confirming eligibility to the employer for consideration.
When an employer identifies the most suitable candidate for the position, they should complete part B of the JP1 form for that candidate, sign the declaration and return to the DSP. The JP1 form will be processed by the Department and once all conditions are satisfied employers will be notified by e-mail that they have been awarded the incentive with regard to the employee specified on the JP1 form.
Once the candidate is offered a position they should contact the DSP to close their jobseeker’s claim. This can be done on line at welfare.ie or by contacting their local Intreo Centre or social welfare office. Payment of JobsPlus can only start once the DSP confirms that the new employee’s jobseeker claim has closed.
You should apply to register your company at www.jobsplus.ie.
Employers should apply to register their company at www.jobsplus.ie.You can get further information about JobsPlus by logging on to www.jobsplus.ie, emailing Jobsplusinfo@welfare.ie or calling (071) 9672535/9672583. Information is also available from your local social welfare office or Intreo centre.
Jobs Plus is administered by:Department of Social Protection
Employment Support Services
Social Welfare Services Office
Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim, Ireland
Tel:(071) 967 2616
Locall:1890 92 79 99