Should employers, agencies, or employees pay for recruitment checks?

Pre-employment background checks are becomingly increasingly compulsory and complex in many industries. Every UK employer needs to check at least that their candidates have the right to work in the UK. Some industries require more processes in line with current legislation.

It has been recently reported that two blue chip name airlines ask potential employees at the point of job offer to pay for their criminal record check to be conducted themselves.

This has caused controversy with a spokesman for a well-known trade union speaking out their opinion that employers should foot the bill for pre-employment checks. The argument posed centred around those who have been faced with unemployment for an extended period of time, for who this process would potentially present a financial bar to returning to work.

Another airline is currently happy to pay for staff security clearance, for which additional background checks are currently compulsory due to anti-terrorism legislation.

Some employers, it seems, adopt a hybrid approach, like an airport ground handling firm who reportedly initially ask potential employees to foot the bill, offering a refund if then successfully hired.

Whoever pays, the price of a manual process can be costly. Software which can manage the checking process can offer per unit price reductions based on total volume transactions over time. One such supplier is Safe Screening. To find out more, visit or email

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