7.06.2024 Protection of whistleblowers

The Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Act. Catalogue of violations without labour law

During its meeting on 5 June, the Senate adopted the government’s Act on whistleblowers. It introduced amendments to the Act, including one that is particularly important from the point of view of both employees and employers. The document will now return to the Sejm to continue further legislative work.

Whistleblower protection – new regulations for the common good

The primary goal of the new regulations is to provide comprehensive protection for people reporting violations of the law, i.e. the so-called whistleblowers. This protection is intended to apply to all persons reporting violations of the law, regardless of the basis and form of employment or service. Notification will therefore be able to be made by an employee, former employee, officer, professional soldier, contractor, B2B cooperator, intern or volunteer.

The main assumptions of the Act under consideration include:

  • Protection of all persons reporting violations of the law, regardless of the form of employment;
  • Ensuring the confidentiality of the reporting person’s identity;
  • Reliable consideration of notifications;
  • Protection against dismissal and other forms of repression;
  • Possibility to pursue compensation claims in the event of damage incurred in connection with the notification.

Whistleblower Protection Act – the Senate deletes the labour law

While working on the draft bill, senators decided to remove from the catalogue of reported violations those concerning labour law. This means that whistleblowers will not be able to report to their employers violations of the provisions of the Labour Code, such as mobbing, discrimination or incorrect calculation of remuneration.

Despite this decision, employers who want to accept reports of labour law violations will still be able to do so. However, they will have to expand the catalogue of reported violations themselves in their internal procedures and on the basis of internal acts.

The internal procedure for reporting violations at the workplace should therefore specify what violations can be reported, how to report violations and how they will be considered. Whistleblowers who wish to report violations of labour law will have to check whether their employer accepts such notifications, and if so, they will be obliged to follow the internal procedure adopted in a given workplace.

Poland with whistleblower protection. The new Act is getting closer to coming into force

The Sejm will consider the Senate’s changes introduced to the Whistleblower Protection Act, most likely at the session starting on June 12, 2024. After passing through the Sejm again, the Act will go to the desk of the President of the Republic of Poland. The President has 30 days to decide: he can sign the bill, veto it or refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal.

The legislative process will most likely come to an end soon, and most of the new regulations will enter into force this fall. After the 3-month vacatio legis, whistleblowers will finally be able to benefit from comprehensive legal protection. Employers, however, will have to quickly implement new regulations in their organizations.

Let us remind you that the deadline for implementing the Directive of the European Parliament and the EU Council in member states has already passed in 2021. However, Poland has still not implemented the new regulations. Yet, the entry into force of the Act in question is not the end of the road for new regulations. In two years, the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy plans to evaluate the whistleblower protection system to check its operation in practice and introduce possible improvements.

Whistleblower protection – find out how we can help

We offer comprehensive support in implementing an effective system for reporting abuses, auditing company operations, and developing and adapting the necessary procedures.

Learn more abour our service: Whistleblowers’ protection – TGC law firm

We also invite you to our free webinar: Whistleblower protection – how to implement the provisions of the new Act? 

Would you like to talk about whistleblower protection in your company today? Sign up for a free consultation with our experts:

Magdalena Wilkoszewska Director of The Labour Law Department, Attorney-At-Law
TGC Corporate Lawyers
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