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New whistleblower protection law. What’s worth knowing?

On 23 May this year, the Parliament adopted the long-awaited draft law on the protection of whistleblowers, implementing a directive of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

The introduction of these provisions in the Polish legal system is of great importance for the protection of labor whistleblowers acting in the public interest.

"On May 23 of this year, the Parliament adopted the long-awaited draft law on the protection of whistleblowers, implementing a directive of the European Parliament and the EU Council."
The directive should be implemented in Poland by December 17, 2021, but it will come into effect on May 23 this year

Why is the introduction of the new law so important?

Until now, Poland has lacked a comprehensive system for the protection of whistleblowers. There were only fragmentary provisions, for example, in the AML Act and the Tax Ordinance, which dealt with the obligation to report tax schemes.

Minister of Family, Labor, and Social Policy Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk emphasized during a parliamentary debate that the introduction of the law is necessary not only due to EU obligations (the directive should be implemented in Poland by December 17, 2021), but primarily to protect whistleblowers.

The lack of such legislation has cost Poland a lump sum of 7 million euros and 40,000 euros in daily fines. The new law aims to create a system of protection for whistleblowers, who are often at risk of retaliation.

Who are whistleblowers, and why do they need protection?

A whistleblower is a person who, acting in the public interest and in good faith, reports violations of labor law related to employment. This can be:

  • an employee,
  • a former employee
  • an officer,
  • professional soldier,
  • contractor,
  • other entity operating under a civil law contract,
  • trainee,
  • volunteer.

The actions of whistleblowers often involve the risk of harassment, loss of promotion or bonus, which is countered by the whistleblower protection provided by the law. This allows a whistleblower to report violations of the law when there are reasonable grounds to do so, without fear of negative consequences.

What new powers will whistleblowers have?

Under the new legislation, whistleblowers who experience retaliation will be able to seek redress or compensation. 

The ombudsman will be responsible for assisting whistleblowers, providing them with the necessary support in connection with violations of the law.

"The lack of such regulations cost Poland 7 million euros in lump sums and 
40,000 euros in daily fines".
Do you require legal counsel regarding whistleblower protection legislation? Contact us!

New obligations for employers?

The Whistleblower Protection Law imposes numerous obligations on employers. Among other things, entities such as payment institutions and other financial institutions will be required to establish appropriate procedures and rules to prevent violations of the law.

Employers will be required to develop procedures for receiving internal reports and establish channels for receiving such reports. These procedures must be clearly defined and accessible to all employees to ensure that whistleblowing can be done effectively without fear of reprisal. In addition, covered entities will be required to maintain a register of internal reports.

When will the whistleblower regulations come into effect?

The new provisions of the Law on Protection of Whistleblowers will enter into force three months after their publication in the Official Gazette. The provisions on external reporting will enter into force six months after their publication. The Senate will now oversee the practical implementation of the law.

Time for a breakthrough in whistleblower protection?

The Whistleblower Protection Law is a step toward greater transparency and fairness in the workplace. By providing protection for whistleblowers, Poland is aligning its laws with EU standards and building a foundation of trust and social responsibility.

Thanks to the new legislation, whistleblowers will be able to act for the common good and come forward without fear of negative consequences.

Do you have questions about the new law and its impact on your business? Contact our law firm for professional legal advice: [email protected]

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