INA Weekly Brief

Nanny Agencies – Are you Compliant with “Ban the Box” Laws?

April 9, 2016
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Ban the Box Nanny ApplicationsThorough background screening of nanny and newborn care specialist applicants is a major market differentiator between world-class nanny agencies and online job listing sites. You do all you can to make sure you present only the best applicants to your families for hiring consideration.

Agency applications and background screening practices all are subject to various Federal and state laws and regulations.

Nationally, over 100 cities and counties have adopted what are widely referred to as “ban the box” laws to encourage employers to consider a job applicant’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a prior criminal record. In general, these laws seek to give job applicants with a prior conviction history a fair chance when applying for employment. These laws prohibit the conviction history question on job applications and delay the background check inquiry until later in the hiring process.

Whether these laws are appropriate for hiring in a child care situation is a legitimate subject of discussion – however as currently written these laws don’t generally differentiate by type of job but apply universally.

Ban the box laws limit when an employer or their agent may permissibly ask about an individual’s criminal history. Traditionally many nanny agency job application forms have asked about an applicant’s prior criminal history. The trend in the law is to prohibit this practice. Each ban the box law prohibits covered employers from asking about criminal history until after a first interview or conditional offer. Each state and local law is nuanced as to what can be asked, and when it can be asked. In addition, several of such laws impose additional obligations on employers regarding the inquiry into and use of criminal history information for employment purposes.

Now is a good time for INA nanny agencies to review their application forms and background screening practices with an employment attorney well versed in your state and local regulations. A conservative best practice may be to act as if a “ban the box” law applies to you and act accordingly.


Nanny payroll servicesA special thank you to INA member HomeWork Solutions for providing this information about evolving applicant review and background screening regulations.

HomeWork Solutions offers both household payroll and household payroll tax compliance services to US families on a nationwide basis and has partnered with INA nanny agencies since 1993.

Do you have specialized knowledge, experience or resources that you want to share with your fellow INA members? We encourage you to submit original, informational articles to the INA to be considered for publication. Authors of selected articles will receive attribution in the post. Email your submissions to the INA Office.

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions.  The contents of post should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation.  The information presented in this post may not reflect the most current legal developments.  No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained in this post and HWS and the INA disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this post to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Both HomeWork Solutions and the International Nanny Association recommend that an attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.