Federal Bonding Program

The Federal Bonding Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, serves as a tool to secure the job placement of ex-offenders and other high-risk applicants by issuing Fidelity bonds to businesses who offer jobs to workers in "at risk" groups. These bonds are business insurance policies that protect the employer in case of any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty.

The bonds are a "guarantee" to the employer that the person hired will be an honest worker. The Fidelity Bonds issued are insurance policies from the Travelers Property Casualty insurance company. The McLaughlin Company in Washington, DC is the agent for Travelers in managing the program nationwide.

The bond is given to the employer free-of-charge, and serves as an incentive to the company to hire a job applicant who is an ex-offender or has some other risk factor in their personal background. The employer is then able to employ the worker without taking any risk of dishonesty on the job. It insures the employer for any type of stealing by theft, forgery, larceny, or embezzlement.

The initial Fidelity bond is issued for a six-month period. A total of $5,000 bond coverage is usually issued, with no deductible amount of liability for the employer. Larger bond amounts can possibly be issued if the certified agency issuing the bonds has acquired a special bond package and has determined that larger bond amounts are appropriate.

Qualifications

Restrictions

The bond will not cover liability due to poor workmanship, job injuries, or work accidents. Self-employed persons cannot be covered.

How to Apply

The employer must make the applicant a job offer and set a date for the individual to start work. The job start date will be the effective date of the bond insurance which will terminate six months later. Once the date is set for the applicant to start work, the bond can be issued instantly. The employer does not need to sign any papers or keep special records because the bond self-terminates. The bond is mailed directly to the employer by The McLaughlin Company in Washington, DC as agent for Travelers.

Issuance of the bond for job placement to occur can be requested by either the employer or the job applicant. This request is to be made to the local agency certified by the Federal Bonding Program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fidelity Bonding

WHAT IS IT?
WHY IS IT NEEDED?
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
HOW IS IT ISSUED?
HAS IT HAD SUCCESS?
WHERE TO GO TO GET IT?

WHAT IS IT?

What is the Federal Bonding Program?
It is a unique tool to help a job applicant get and keep a job. The program issues Fidelity Bonds and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.

What is a Fidelity Bond?
A Fidelity Bond is a business insurance policy that protects the employer in case of any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty. It is like a "guarantee" to the employer that the person hired will be an honest worker.

The Fidelity Bonds issued under the Federal Bonding Program are insurance policies of the Travelers Property Casualty insurance company. The McLaughlin Company in Washington, DC, is the agent for Travelers in managing the program nationwide.

How does the bond help someone get a job?
The bond is given to the employer free of charge, and serves as an incentive to the company to hire a job applicant who is an ex-offender or has some other "risk" factor in their personal background. The employer is then able to get the worker's skills without taking any risk of worker dishonesty on the job.

What exactly does the bond insurance cover? It insures the employer for any type of stealing by theft, forgery, larceny or embezzlement. It does not cover liability due to poor workmanship, job injuries or work accidents. It is not a bail bond or court bond for the legal system. It is not a contract bond, performance bond or license bond sometimes needed to be self-employed.

What restrictions exist in the program's bond coverage?
The worker must meet the State's legal age for working; there are no age limits. Workers must be paid wages with Federal taxes automatically deducted from pay; self-employed persons cannot be covered.

Who does the program help?
Bond coverage is provided for any person whose background usually leads employers to question their honesty and deny them a job. The program will cover any person who is a "risk" due to their being in one or more of the following groups:

 

Can other persons be bonded?
YES. Anyone else who needs the program's bond in order to get a job.

WHY IS IT NEEDED?

Since employers buy Fidelity Bond insurance to protect against employee dishonesty, why is this program's bond needed?
Fidelity Bonds that employers purchase commercially do not cover anyone who has already committed a "fraudulent or dishonest act." Ex-offenders and other job applicants with questionable backgrounds are designated by the insurance industry as being not bondable because they are too risky to insure for job honesty.

Only the Federal Bonding Program will issue bonds to employers to cover anyone who is usually not bondable. As a result, bonding is eliminated as a barrier to employment and the program serves as a unique job placement tool.

Is it legal for employers to deny employment to applicants who are not bondable under commercially purchased bonds?
Employers fear that applicants who are not bondable will be untrustworthy employees, and companies can require bonding and deny employment on that basis. The Federal Bonding Program can help overcome that employer fear by making the applicant bondable. The program's bond is like a guarantee of employee job honesty for the hardest-to-place job applicants.

Can the program's Fidelity Bond coverage exist forever?
The key purpose of the program's bond is to help an at-risk applicant get a job. The bond insurance is issued free of charge to the employer for a period of six months If the worker demonstrates job honesty during the six months of Federal Bonding Program coverage, that worker can become bondable for lifeunder commercial bonding made available to the employer for purchase from the Travelers Property Casualty insurance company.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

How can you know if you qualify for obtaining bonding services?
Anyone who cannot get a job without bonding is eligible for help by the Federal Bonding Program. All individuals who have, in the past, committed a fraudulent or dishonest act are eligible for bonding services.

These persons include ex-offenders and recovering substance abusers, as well as people who have poor personal credit, low income persons who lack a work history, and individuals who were dishonorably discharged from the military.

At what age can you obtain bonding from the program?
You must meet the legal minimum working age set by the State in which the job exists. The program has no maximum age limit.

What if you have already been told by a company that you are "not bondable"?
The main reason that the Federal Bonding Program exists is to help get a job for any person who experiences bonding as a barrier to getting a job. The program will bond anyone who has a risk factor in their personal background.

Can the program bond persons who are self-employed?
NO. The program's Fidelity Bond is issued to an employer to cover only a worker who earns wages with Federal taxes automatically withheld from the worker's paycheck.

Can bonding be issued for a worker placed on a part-time job or a temporary job?
YES. However, the agency issuing the bond can make an exception to this rule if they determine it is needed.

If an applicant is to be placed on a job where bonding was not previously required, can a bond be issued?
YES. Bonding can be provided for any job if issuance of the bond is the difference between getting the job and not getting it.

Job placement often occurs simply due to the fact that the bond overcomes an employer's fear that the job applicant may be a dishonest worker.

Can bonding be issued to cover an already employed worker?
The main purpose of the Federal Bonding Program is to help secure employment for applicants who are having a hard time getting a job due to their questionable backgrounds. However, a bond can be issued to cover a current employee who is not bondable under the employer's insurance, and needs the program's bonding in order to secure a promotion to a new job requiring bonding or to prevent being laid off.

Is a person on welfare automatically eligible for bonding?
Most welfare recipients will be eligible due to the fact that they have a poor credit history or have declared bankruptcy. Also, some of these individuals will be eligible due to being ex-offenders or recovering substance abusers, or lacking a work history.

HOW IS IT ISSUED?

Who must request issuance of the Fidelity bond?
Issuance of the bond for job placement to occur can be requested by either the employer or the job applicant. This request is to be made to the local agency certified by the Federal Bonding Program.

In many cities, agencies are certified to issue bonds as an employer incentive for job hire. Sometimes these agencies are designated as the State Job Service or One-Stop Career Center. Job seekers wishing to locate the agency in their area should call 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627) for more information. Agencies/organizations wishing to learn about acquiring bonds to be issued to employers to facilitate job placements can call 1-800-233-2258 ext. 246.

Can the bond be issued at any time??
For the bond to be issued, the employer must make the applicant a job offer and set a date for the individual to start work. The job start date will be the effective date of the bond insurance which will terminate six months later. After the six months, continued coverage will be made available for purchase of the worker has exhibited honesty under the program's bond.

How much bond insurance coverage will be issued?
A total of $5,000 bond coverage is usually issued, with no deductible amount of liability for the employer. Larger bond amounts can possibly be issued if the certified agency issuing the bonds has acquired a special bond package and has determined that larger bond amounts are appropriate.

What papers must the employer sign and what other actions must the employer take in order to get the bond?
NONE. Once the date is set for the applicant to start work, the bond can be issued instantly. The employer signs no papers, and keeps no special records since the bond is self-terminating. The bond is mailed directly to the employer by The McLaughlin Company in Washington, DC as an agent for Travelers.

HAS IT HAD SUCCESS?

How many people have been helped by the program?
About 40,000 applicants have obtained jobs due to being bonded, and 99% have proven to be honest employees.

What do employers think about bonding as a job-hire incentive?
A research study published by a university in Texas surveyed employer attitudes toward hiring ex-offenders. Only 12% said that they were willing to hire these applicants. However, 51% said that they would hire ex-offenders if they were bonded.

What proof is there that bonding is needed and useful?
New York State found that having a job helps prevent a parolee from returning to prison. The fact is that 89% of persons who violated parole were unemployed at the time.

Texas found that Project RIO bonding and other services for releasees from its State prisions saved the State $10 million annually, and made tax payers out of tax users.

A study of the U.S. Department of Justice found that released felony offenders with histories of alcohol and drug offenses were able to be helped to secure steady employment by offering employers bonding as a job-hire incentive.

Are there other benefits in use of bonding services?
YES. A greater variety of jobs can be obtained by applicants, and more higher wage jobs can be obtained.

WHERE TO GO TO GET IT?

What do you have to do to get bonding services?
The employer or job applicant should contact the nearest State Job Service or One-Stop Career Cetner (call 1-877-US2-JOBS). It is necessary for the applicant to first visit and register with one of these offices (sometimes called a Workforce Office).

There are no papers to be completed by the job applicant or the employer in order for the bond to be issued to the employer to cover the job honesty of the worker. Before a bond can be issued, the applicant must receive a job offer and the employer must schedule a date to start work.

The McLaughlin Company in Washington, DC will then issue, to the employer, a Fidelity Bond insurance policy covering the worker. This policy is underwritten through the Travelers Property Casualty insurance company.

How does the employer learn that bonding is available?
Workforce Office representatives usually inform employers about the availability of bonding services.

Job applicants should also inform employers about bonding in their job search interviews.

Is there a specific phone number to call to get further information on bonding services?
YES. Job seekers wishing to locate the agency in their area should call 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627) for more information. Agencies/organizations wishing to learn about acquiring bonds to be issued to employers to facilitate job placements can call 1-800-233-2258 ext. 246.

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