Ex-offenders and employment

Last updated: 18 April 2017

Employers shouldn't turn someone down for a job because they've been convicted of an offence, if the conviction is 'spent'.

Job applicants also don't have to tell potential employers about spent convictions.

What counts as a spent conviction

Convictions with a sentence of 30 months or less will become spent after a certain period of time. This period is known as a 'rehabilitation period'. Its length depends on how severe the penalty was.

Find the rehabilitation periods for Scotland.


Simple cautions become spent immediately. Conditional cautions become spent after 3 months.


If the job requires a criminal records check, and this shows that someone's not suitable for a job because of a spent conviction, the employer can withdraw a job offer.

Criminal record checks are carried out by Disclosure Scotland.