July 4, 2024

The New Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers is getting closer to coming into force

The New Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers is getting closer to coming into force.

It will result in huge changes for entrepreneurs in Poland and the need to implement tools to handle intake.

 

An experienced advisor such as NaviRisk will be needed to help manage whistleblower cases because companies face large fines for oversights. The Polish Parliament has adopted a law on the protection of whistleblowers, which aims to protect whistleblowers regardless of the basis and form of their work or service. The new regulations implement a directive of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. At this week’s Lower House of Parliament session, deputies voted on the law in this regard, along with amendments. One covers an issue that raised much opposition from representatives of employers and entrepreneurs. It concerns the catalog of violations that can be the subject of a whistleblower report.

Experts were concerned that the possibility of reporting cases involving labor law could distort the institution of the whistleblower by focusing precisely on employment-related cases and not on violations of public law. There were also concerns that the law’s provisions would be misused, for example, to obtain protection from dismissal.

Senators shared these concerns and removed the controversial labor law from the law’s scope. And deputies supported the decision.

A whistleblower is a person who reports irregularities in connection with employment, acting – importantly – in the common interest and good faith, and not for his or her benefit. Such a person may be vulnerable to retaliation such as harassment, deprivation of promotion, or bonus, which this law aims to counteract.

A whistleblower experiencing retaliation will be able to seek redress or compensation. The institution responsible for providing support to whistleblowers will be the Ombudsman.

Importantly, a whistleblower will be able to become an employee – regardless of the basis and form of employment, as well as a former employee, officer, professional soldier, contractor, intern, or volunteer.

After the law enters into force, the employer will be required to develop an internal notification procedure specifying the rules for receiving reports from whistleblowers. It will also have to create channels for receiving them.

The obligation to implement the above procedure applies to companies with more than 50 employees, as well as: budget entities, limited liability companies, and accounting offices regardless of the number of employees. Note that the 50-employee limit does not apply to employers who fall under the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law.

The law is getting closer to coming into force. Now it will go to the President of Poland for signature.

The new law is expected to come into force three months after being published. On the other hand, the regulations on external filings will take effect six months after their promulgation.

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