New Pennsylvania Law Clarifies Background Check Clearances

 ManMagnified

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1276 to help clarify the state’s new law regarding background check clearances for employees and volunteers who have direct and routine contact with children. A copy of Pennsylvania HB 1276, which takes effect immediately, is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/file/PennsylvaniaHouseBill1276.pdf.

Sponsored by Representative Katharine Watson (R-Bucks/144th District), chair of the House Children and Youth Committee, HB 1276 clarifies Act 153 of 2014 which requires additional and periodic background check clearances for employees and volunteers who are directly involved with children, according to a press release on Representative Watson’s website.

Under HB 1276, volunteers with “direct volunteer contact” such as care, supervision, guidance, control, and routine interaction with children must obtain background check clearances. In addition, all employees and adult volunteers subject to these background check clearances will now only be required to recertify those clearances every five years instead of every three years.

HB 1276 clarifies the cost, portability, and recertification of two background check clearances: the Department of Human Services child abuse clearance and state police criminal background check. HB 1276 waives the two $10 fees for volunteers and reduces the fees for employees to $8 each. However, volunteer background check clearances cannot be used for employment.

HB 1276 also pushes back the deadline for new volunteers to obtain background check clearances from July 1, 2015 to August 25, 2015. The other deadlines to obtain background check clearances are December 31, 2015, for existing employees, and July 1, 2016, for existing volunteers. New employees must obtain background check clearances before employment.

Who Needs Background Check Clearances?

The Penn State child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showed why organizations need to background check members with access to vulnerable populations such as children. For information about background check services from Employment Screening Resources (ESR), call 888.999.4474 or visit http://www.esrcheck.com.

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