The implementation of an effective whistleblowing system for reporting anti-social activities should serve to protect the company's reputation, ensure its integrity and build an ethical corporate culture.
Implementation of an internal reporting system
In October 2019, the European Union adopted a directive on the protection of persons who report breaches of EU law (the “EU Whistleblowing Directive”).
All Member States of the European Union are required to implement the Directive into their national law by 17 December 2021.
Despite the fact that in March 2019 the Slovak Republic adopted Act No. 54/2019 Coll. on the protection of whistleblowers and on the amendment of certain laws (the “Whistleblowing Act”), this act will need to be amended in order to strengthen the requirements for the protection of whistleblowers.
The government of the Slovak Republic is currently working on preparing an amendment to the Whistleblowing Act, which should be adopted at the end of this year. The amendment should meet the minimum requirements of the EU Whistleblowing Directive. For obliged companies and public authorities, this implies, inter alia, the obligation to set up an internal reporting system for verifying reports, equipped with a sufficient degree of protection for whistleblowers.
Who is required to establish an internal reporting system?
Companies with at least 50 employees and Public authorities
Orgán verejnej moci
Pursuant to the EU Whistleblowing Directive, municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants or 50 employees are exempt from the obligation to set up internal reporting channels.
What to prepare for after the implementation of the directive?
Following the implementation of the EU Whistleblowing Directive into the Whistleblowing Act, the following obligations will need to be met:
- the establishment of an efficient and secure system for receiving and processing reports of anti-social activities, complying with technical and organizational measures;
- the provision of protection for whistleblowers in terms of precise identity protection and by allowing anonymous reporting;
- the provision of mechanisms for the identification and prevention of retaliation (e.g. related to the termination of employment);
- the maintaining of records of reports in accordance with the requirements of the EU Whistleblowing Directive; and
- compliance with deadlines for processing reports.
Why is the whistleblowing system an advantageous solution for you?
A properly designed whistleblowing system minimizes the risk that anti-social activity will be reported directly to the Whistleblower Protection Office or published by the media. It will also motivate whistleblowers to use internal reporting channels as a matter of priority, thus ensuring the solution of possible anti-social activities internally and preventing damage to the company's good name.
By implementing an internal reporting system, you gain the trust of potential whistleblowers and ensure that they use the internal channel as their first choice when reporting anti-social activity. Whistleblowers normally feel safer and more at ease when reporting internally, unless they have reasons to report externally.
Fulfilment of legal obligation
Not only will you fulfil the legal obligation to create an internal system for receiving and processing reports of anti-social activities, but you will also prevent compliance risks that the amended Whistleblowing Act will bring. You can thus make the transition to the technical solution of the internal reporting system easier with a single package of whistleblowing services.
Saving time and resources
It takes companies several months to properly implement, update or set up channels and processes. If you start now, you will have enough time not only to implement them, but also to rigorously test them.
Prevention of fines
The Whistleblowing Directive gives the Member States discretion to adopt effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions against entities that breach whistleblowing obligations. Currently, the Whistleblowing Act allows the Office to impose a fine of up to EUR 20,000 for a breach of the obligated entity's obligation. However, the forthcoming amendment to the Whistleblowing Act may increase the amount of the fine for such violations.
Our team of experts will design services according to the needs of your company
The implementation process can be time consuming and the implementation and testing of a reporting system can save companies valuable time.
The comprehensive whistleblowing
advice that we provide includes
the following phases:
- Analysis and evaluation of the current status of the company in relation to the reporting of anti-social activities
This phase includes the following steps:
- assessment of the fulfilment of obligations arising from the Whistleblowing Act;
- analysis and assessment of a suitable technical solution; and
- legal analysis.
- Design of a suitable whistleblowing solution
Based on the results of the analysis of your company’s current status, we will prepare a proposal for the improvement or implementation of a whistleblowing system, which will comply with the applicable legislation following the amendment to the Whistleblowing Act and the requirements of your company.
At this stage, we suggest:
- the required technical solution;
- appropriate and efficient processes; and
- an employee training system.
- Implementation of an internal whistleblowing system
During this phase, we provide the following services:
- implementation of technical and organizational solutions;
- implementation of mandatory and best practice whistleblowing processes;
- development or updating of an internal whistleblowing directive; and
- employee training.
- Verification of reports
During the operation of the whistleblowing system, we will help you with the verification of reports of potential illegal actions.
As part of the review of reports, we will conduct an internal investigation, which includes:
- examination and verification of obtained reports;
- evaluation of the justification of the submitted reports;
- compliance with the deadlines for the verification of the reports and the notification of the results of the investigation; and
- a proposal of appropriate measures to remedy or prevent the illegal situation.
You can also rely on us to prepare and update internal guidelines and related documentation.
We will set everything up for you and explain in detail how to apply the current legislation in practice and how to work with it further.