Would You Hire a Felon if You Were Paid $2,400?

Covid-19 Vaccine Requirement for Employment

Can you imagine knowingly hiring a felon? 

I frequently recommend it. 

You would think that processing millions of background checks and the coinciding criminal felony records would make me a bit pessimistic when it comes to hiring a person convicted of a felony.  But in reality, I happily consult and advise that an organization’s next best employee could very likely be an ex-felon who is successfully turning their life around. 

Many HR professionals and business owners are unaware the federal government wants you to hire Felons and will pay you! 

The IRS issues qualifying employers tax credits under the “Work Opportunity Tax Credit program” ( WOTC) 

The WOTC program has enabled companies to receive up to $9,600 in tax credits for each qualifying employee hired, with no limit on the number of qualifying individuals, including prior convicted felons or recently released from prison felons. 

It was set to expire in 2021 but President Biden signed legislation (  The Consolidated Appropriations act) that extends this powerful tax credit program until 2025. 


WOTC includes employees convicted of a felony in their past. 

Smart employers look for qualified applicants that are available for WOTC payment and make it part of their hiring process. 

According to the IRS, a  “qualified ex-felon” is a person hired within a year of:

  • Being convicted of a felony or
  • Being released from prison from the felony

It’s important to remember that all “ felonies” are not alike. In many states, drug offenses can be classified as a felony. While in others ( Oregon for example), they are classified as infractions. 

Each instance and case should be reviewed carefully and your background check provider should be able to get you the actual documents from the judicial system to help you confirm all facts ( as well as supply supporting documentation to the government) 

I encourage all employers regardless of size to look closely at this program and maximize their hiring ROI with tax credits from this program. 

You can see the complete details from the IRS here.

About the Author

Bob Mather is the CEO of several background check, Everify and drug testing organizations. As a Private investigator, he worked exclusively for CEO’s and human resource executives helping to uncover, investigate and bring to conclusion workplace investigation issues like, harassment, discrimination, embezzlement, and more.

Bob is frequently a guest on podcasts and can be reached on LinkedIn or by calling 800-300-1821 ext 124