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Tap federal program to gain ‘insurance’ on risky hires

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Issue: You face risks when hiring ex-cons, recovering addicts and other "second-chance" applicants.

Benefit: A little-known federal program makes it easier to hire such people by offering "insurance" in case those hires go bad.

Action: Protect your organization, and impress your boss, by tapping into the free federal-bonding program.

Let's face it: Concern over employee honesty is a big reason that businesses shy away from hiring "second-chance" job applicants, such as recovering drug addicts, ex-felons and people who lack a firm work history.

But if you're willing to take a chance on job candidates with less-than-perfect pasts, a little-known federal program can help. It provides individual fidelity bonding for otherwise unbondable people.

Essentially, the program is an insurance policy of the St. Paul Travelers Co. that covers you in case of financial losses due to the employee's dishonesty. The best part: The coverage won't cost you a penny, and you'll face little paperwork.

Logistics: The U.S. Labor Department's Federal Bonding Program (FBP) can cover any at-risk employee, full or part-time, regardless of whether you buy commercial fidelity bonds for your other employees.

Employers can't directly apply for these bonds, which provide $5,000 of coverage with no deductibles. Instead, you must request them from a local FBP-certified agency. State employment services offices are certified to issue the bonds as an employer incentive for hiring. Check with your local One-Stop Career Center or state job service. (For locations, visit www.servicelocator.org.)

Other employment and training groups, including nonprofits and community-based programs, may also be eligible.

For more details, visit www.doleta.gov/ wtw/documents/fedbonding.cfm.

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