Employment & labor law /

Draft of Polish bill on protection of Whistleblowers – main assumptions

In an article dated September 24, 2021 (https://www.dudkowiak.com/blog/labour-law-implementation-of-the-whistleblower-protection-directive-and-the-new-iso-standard-on-whistleblowing.html), we reminded you that December 17, 2021 is the deadline for the implementation of Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 23, 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (hereinafter: Directive 2019/1937). It should be also emphasized, that the new law imposes obligations on employers, ultimately those with an employment level of 50 or more employees, as well as on entities in the financial sector regardless of the number of employees.

Recently, the Polish legislator has finally taken steps leading to the implementation of the provisions contained in Directive 2019/1937 into the national legal order. Below are presenting the main points of the draft of bill on Protection of Whistleblowers of October 14, 2021:

  1. specifying the catalogue of rights the infringement of which may be reported, and giving the employer the possibility to extend this catalogue to include the employer’s internal regulations;
  2. extensive protection for whistleblowers and a ban on retaliatory actions against them, such as a ban on unequal treatment manifested in, for example, termination or dismissal without notice of an employment relationship or reduction of remuneration for work, as well as the extension of protection to persons employed on a basis other than employment and persons helping the whistleblower;
  3. the right to compensation of not less than the minimum wage for whistleblowers against whom the other party to the legal relationship has engaged in unfavourable treatment, other than by way of termination or dismissal without notice of the legal relationship, for having made a notification or made a public disclosure;
  4. absolute nullity of contractual provisions in the scope that they directly or indirectly exclude or restrict the right to make a notification or public disclosure;
  5. the obligation to establish internal reporting regulations setting out an internal procedure for reporting violations of the law and taking follow-up activities, in accordance with the requirements set out in the bill, covering employers with at least 50 employees (the deadline of implementation of this obligation for entities acting in private-sector with 50 to 249 employees was set at December 17, 2023);
  6. the possibility of making external notifications to a public authority or a central body (in this role the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection) without prior internal notification, and the establishment of guidelines and procedures for such notifications;
  7. the rules for making a public disclosure of an infringement.

At the same time we remind, that issues related to the above mentioned Directive, Whistleblowers protection, or the procedure of reporting irregularities or violations of the law are wider discussed in the article of May 20, 2021 |(https://www.dudkowiak.com/blog/labor-law-basic-elements-of-the-compliance-policy-in-the-workplace.-part-2-whistleblowing.html).

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