A draft of the Polish law on the protection of whistleblowers, i.e. persons reporting breaches of the law, was released yesterday. It comes as part of implementing the provisions of the EU directive on whistleblower protection into the Polish legal system.
The bill is being proceeded yet given the accelerated procedure, the largest companies (employing over 250 staff) and public sector entities (including local government units) should already now begin preparing to meet the necessary requirements. Under the proposed solutions, private businesses hiring between 50 to 250 employees will have time to prepare for the implementation by 17 December 2023.
Obligations imposed according to the draft law:
- implementing procedures and establishing channels that enable safe and confidential reporting of abuse,
- registering such notifications in the appropriate system,
- appointing a person responsible for receiving and examining notifications,
- conducting internal investigations within specified time limits,
- protecting reporting persons (whistleblowers) from retaliation.
The list of reporting persons to be protected is long. It includes employees, self-employed, partners, members of management bodies, interns or even candidates for staff members or suppliers. The entity will also be required to inform its contractors about the solutions implemented in this area.
Entities must consult the introduced whistleblower protection measures with trade unions or staff representatives.
The bill also provides for sanctions: failure to comply with the new obligations may trigger a fine, restriction of personal liberty or imprisonment for up to three years.
How can we help?
It is difficult to know how long the draft will be processed, but given the significant acceleration of works businesses and public sector entities should already now take steps to implement the new obligations on time. You may wish to establish the procedure and reporting channel that would best serve your needs (e.g. introducing a new electronic tool), appoint individuals in charge of the new procedure and to adjust your compliance solutions accordingly.
Feel free to contact us: