The A-Z Pre-Employment Guide for employers & employees

CREDIT CHECKS 

Q.Can an employer run a credit check on me when I apply for a job?

A. As long as you give consent and there's a legitimate reason, employers are allowed to run a credit check on you.

An example would be if the job involves dealing with money, accounts, or financial administration. Ideally credit checks should be limited to the shortlisted job applicants. Generally speaking, credit checks should not be undertaken to create the shortlist of applicants. The job applicant must consent to the employer doing a credit check.

CRIMINAL RECORDS

Q. Can an employer require me to disclose my criminal record?

A. Yes, if the criminal convictions are recent your prospective employer has the right to know about your criminal record.

The Act does not deal with the disclosure of criminal records but the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act can help people with convictions put the past behind them. The clean slate law allows people in some circumstances to withhold information about convictions. The main conditions you must meet are:

  • No convictions for the last seven years
  • Never received a custodial sentence, for example imprisonment, corrective training or borstal.

Job applicants who want to know more about the clean slate law should get independent legal advice from a lawyer or community law centre or get information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment helpline: 0800 20 90 20.

See also: Police vetting


Q. What impact does the clean slate law have on the questions an employer can ask a job applicant, either in an application form or in an interview?

A. The clean slate law applies to employment and any other situations where someone may be asked about criminal convictions, for example tenancy, insurance and bank application forms.

If a person meets the eligibility criteria in the clean slate law, when asked about criminal convictions or a criminal record they are able to respond that they have no criminal record. It is an offence under the clean slate law for someone without lawful authority to ask or require another person to disclose a criminal record when that person is entitled by law not to. The offence carries a maximum penalty of $10,000.

The Ministry of Justice has information on the clean slate law.

Employers with queries about the law should get independent legal advice from a lawyer or employers’ organisation.

See also: Police vetting