Tuesday April 13, 2021

Criminal records of employees working with children could be checked

Published : 05 Feb 2021, 02:42

Updated : 05 Feb 2021, 10:24

  DF Report

File Photo of Day-care centre. Photo City of Helsinki by Kimmo Brandt.

The government has proposed that employers should have the right to conduct criminal record checks on people who work with children in short-term positions.

The government on Thursday submitted a proposal to parliament to amend the Act and the amended Act is intended to enter into force after parliamentary discussions in spring 2021, said the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in a press release.

The proposal aims to promote the protection of minors. Currently, employers are only authorised to investigate the backgrounds of people who work with children longer than three months during a one-year period.

“Background checks have not been possible in employment relationships lasting less than three months, which has raised concerns in day-care centres, for example. We need to take such concerns seriously. The best interests of the child should outweigh everything else,” said Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen.

After the legislative amendments, employers would have the right to request that an employee provide an extract from the criminal record even for positions lasting no more than three months.

This would not constitute a new obligation; instead, the request would be based on the employer’s own judgment and risk assessment. In this way, the new legislation would take into consideration the different needs of employers and the situations in which work is carried out.

The right to conduct criminal record checks for short-term positions would also apply to other authorities required to investigate criminal backgrounds, including the Centre for Non-Military Service, TE offices, licensing and supervisory authorities, municipalities, and joint municipal authorities.

In addition to employment relationships, people who work with minors as part of their non-military service or work trial would be required to provide an extract from criminal records before the start of the work. This requirement would also apply to commission agreements on family care.