Did you know:
An estimated 631,000 adult Idahoans (21%) have a previous criminal conviction on their permanent record
In Idaho there are currently more than 12,000 people incarcerated in county jails and state prisons
There are more than 16,000 Idahoans on probation and parole
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
The Chairman of the House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee has given the Fair Chance Employment Act a hearing!
On Wednesday, March 03, 2021, at 1:30 PM Mountain Time, the Committee will hear testimony on House Bill H0196 Fair Chance Employment Act.
Call to action: sign up to testify or write to members of the House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee to share your story!
Employment can be a huge barrier to success after incarceration. This bill seeks to provide an opportunity to be judged on your qualifications before you are judged for your past mistakes.
Find out who the members of the Committee are by clicking here.
What is the Fair Chance Employment Act?
The Fair Chance Employment Act is a new so-called “ban the box” law that asks employers to gather information about an applicant’s qualifications before their criminal history.
The premise behind this and other ban the box laws is that those who are coming out of prison will still have an opportunity to get hired for jobs they’re qualified for without undue discrimination before they’ve even been given a chance to show their qualifications.
“Ban the box” refers to the removal of what’s usually a box on an application that asks whether the applicant has ever had a felony conviction or been arrested (or other similar language).
With the Fair Chance Employment Act and similar legislation, these questions are becoming less and less common, as employers are now giving more people the opportunity to go through the hiring process and then giving offers that are conditioned upon the results of background screenings and more.
The Fair Chance Employment Act is one of the latest of these laws, and it applies to all private employers, with limited exceptions.
It’s important to note that ban the box laws do not mean that employers cannot take past criminal history into account. Rather, they mean it should not be an automatic disqualifier, and circumstances should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the applicant’s history is relevant to the job and recent enough to be applicable.
This is why these laws seek to remove such questions early in the process; when they’re present too soon, they’re more likely to be used as a data point for disqualification.
If the question is only allowed after an applicant’s qualifications have been determined, or after a conditional offer of employment, it encourages case-by-case review. (Also note that the law itself does have some exceptions, such as law enforcement, daycares, schools, the Boys & Girls Club and more.)
For those impacted by the Fair Chance Employment Act, if the law is passed, it will not take effect until July 1, 2021, providing employers the time between now and when the law goes into effect to review and update their application materials to ensure they’re compliant. This will also give those involved in the hiring process time to understand the new regs. Once the new rules are in effect, there will not be penalties for violating it.
Read the full text of the bill here.
Write to your Legislator to express your support for Fair Chance Hiring practices
Writing a Letter
Be courteous and informative in your communication.
Personalize the letter by including examples of how the legislation might impact you and your family. Keep the letter brief-not more than one page.
Sending E-mail Communication to a Legislator
The same guidelines apply to e-mail as to written letters. If you do send an e-mail, send it to the representative. Do not copy other representatives or send a mass e-mail.
Phone Calls to a Legislator
State your name and address and identify yourself as the legislator’s constituent. You will often be speaking with a secretary or aide. Briefly make known your position as they keep track of the issues that people call about to report to the legislator. Have your thoughts organized in advance, which will help you to keep the call brief and to the point. It is also very helpful to share how the issue affects you personally. Thank them for their support.
HIRING JUSTICE-INVOLVED INDIVIDUALS MAKES STRONG BUSINESS SENSE
REENTRY WORKERS STAY LONGER
REENTRY WORKERS WORK HARDER
EMPLOYER TAX CREDITS FOR WAGES
We need to move beyond the two prongs of ‘bottom-line’ and ‘growth’ as companies, and understand that we all will thrive when we include the third prong of ‘investing in the community.'”
TAKE THE FAIR CHANCE HIRING PLEDGE
I’m open to hiring justice-involved individuals.
I’m ready to take the pledge.
By taking this pledge, your business is joining a community of local, state, and national partners that believes in providing second chances.