via HR Dive, April 4, 2023
Fair chance laws seek to reduce the barriers that formerly incarcerated individuals encounter trying to get a job. When these barriers are reduced and individuals with past conviction records are able to find employment, both states and businesses benefit, the California bill explains.
For example, experts have found that California loses $20 billion in state gross domestic product each year due to the many barriers that formerly incarcerated people with felony records must face to be fully employed, the bill notes. Yet, employees with conviction histories have higher retention rates, lower turnover and higher loyalty than the general population, the bill says.
There are other benefits as well. Second-chance hiring lets employers tap into a new talent pool, improve diversity and inclusion and possibly earn a tax credit.
Fair chance hiring also gives individuals with a past conviction a fresh start, as it did with someone from Tennessee. At a half-way house, he learned about Persevere, a not-for-profit organization that provides engineering and coding training to people who have been incarcerated. Through Persevere, he became certified as a full-stack web developer and now works full-time for the organization.
Ban-the-box practices support second-chance hiring by requiring employers to consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without being influenced by the stigma a conviction may present. But they are limited in what they can do, Persevere’s employment coordinator recently told HR Dive. Employers can still request a criminal background check once they’ve made a conditional offer, he said.
As of 2021, 37 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted ban-the-box laws, according to the National Employment Law Project.