Getting a new job doesn’t just involve an investment in your time and effort, it can cost you money too. Very few organisations pay travelling expenses for interviews, you might have to buy a new outfit, take unpaid time off work – it all mounts up. It would therefore be natural to assume that the cost ends when you land your new job, but that’s not always the case. One of the most common expenses for people starting new jobs is getting their DBS certificate. But isn’t this a cost which the employer should be bearing?


What the Law Says

The law is clear about what sorts of jobs need a DBS check, and how the application process should be handled. However, there are no rules about who pays for the DBS check. In most cases, employers see this cost as part and parcel of recruitment, and will pay it for all applicants. In other cases, the employer will expect the employee to pay the cost. In many NHS trusts, it is common practice to ask the employee to ask the employee to pay the initial cost of any DBS check, then have the cost refunded in their first pay check.

If this is proposed and would send you into financial hardship, most employers will have some way of managing the cost to help you. If they have gone through the entire recruitment process and decided you’re the right person for the job, they won’t want to lose you over a few pounds for a DBS check. Don’t be afraid to ask, in confidence, if there is anything they can do to help you out.


Exception for Volunteers

People who are volunteers do not pay for DBS checks. There is quite a strict definition of what volunteer means. A volunteer has to be someone doing unpaid activity which benefits a third party who isn’t related to them. So someone helping out at a football club, working in a charity shop or running an animal rescue centre all would be classed as volunteers. Someone on unpaid work experience or working as an intern would usually not be classed in this way. However, not all intern or work experience roles would need a DBS anyway.


Minimising Delay on DBS Checks

When you land a new job, it’s natural to want to be able to start work right away. Having to wait several weeks for a DBS certificate to arrive can be frustrating. There is no fast track option, but there is plenty that you can do to speed things along in other ways. Ask your new employer what their policy is, and respond as quickly as you can to requests to complete forms or bring in identification. Ask them whether it would be possible to start work while your check is pending. This will very much depend on the role but many companies might let you start training or shadowing work with a more experienced staff member. They don’t have to do this though.