Which convictions do you actually have to declare when applying for jobs?

When you are applying for employment, whether this is paid or unpaid, you might need to tell your employer about your conviction in the case they ask you. This could either be in a face to face interview or on a job application. This also applies if you have received a cation from the police.

Spent or unspent convictions

You are only liable for telling the potential employer about the conviction that is yet unspent. The length of time a conviction become spent depends on the sentence imposed. We often refer to the rehabilitation period which essentially means time the penalty is imposed for plus a buffer period. So for example, a 2 year custodial sentence given to an adult may become spent after 6 years: the rehabilitation period is the period of the sentence plus a further ‘buffer period’ of 4 years, giving a total of 6 years.

When a prison sentence becomes spent:

If your convictions are spent, which means these will not show up on your criminal record or on a DBS check, you do not have to tell your employer about it. In case of an unspent conviction or caution, you will need to tell your employer about it if this is being asked for.

There are certain jobs where exceptions apply and you will have to disclose your convictions, even if these are considered spent. For example, this is the true in the case if the role is working with children or vulnerable people. An extensive but by no means comprehensive list of all types of occupations can be found here:

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  1. How the government is helping ex-offenders get back into work – BackIntoSociety

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