Legal Alert

PA Amends Background Check Requirement for Employees Working With Children

January 21, 2020

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.

Ballard Spahr’s Labor and Employment Group regularly assists employers by providing compliance advice, training, and on auditing policies and procedures.

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This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

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