PA Amends Background Check Requirement for Employees Working With Children

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In 2015, Pennsylvania amended the state Child Protective Services Law to require that employees who have direct contact with minors submit a Pennsylvania child abuse clearance, Pennsylvania State Police criminal background check, and an FBI background check as a condition of employment. Employees were permitted to work on a conditional basis while awaiting the results of the background checks. Under the 2015 law, as long as the employee applied for the background checks before commencing employment and the employer had no knowledge of any information that would disqualify the employee, the employee could work while awaiting the results.

A recent amendment to the Child Protective Services Law, which took effect at the end of 2019, prevents an employee who has direct contact with children from starting the job prior to completion of the background check.

Specifically, the statute provides that “employers, administrators, supervisors or other persons responsible for employment decisions may not employ applicants on a provisional basis.” Certain child care employers can request exemptions from this provision.

Employers should immediately review their hiring practices to ensure compliance with the new law.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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