Another version of the draft Act on the Protection of Whistleblowers
Published on 11th Jul 2022
On 7 July 2022, yet another (already the third) draft Act on the Protection of Whistleblowers (the "Draft") was published on the website of the Government Legislation
Centre. Poland is obliged by the EU Directive to implement legislation in this area.
The Draft, compared to its previously proposed version of 6 April 2022, has introduced several significant changes, which we present below.
Mandatory elements of the internal reporting procedure
The new Draft stipulates that an obligatory element of internal reporting procedure is defining the system of encouragements to use said procedure where breaches of the law can be effectively addressed within the organisational structure of relevant legal entity and the reporting person considers that there is no risk of retaliation. In the previous version of the Act, it was optional to introduce encouragements for reporting persons.
Deadline for implementing the internal reporting procedure
Entities concerned with whistleblower protection are to be given more time to comply with the obligations set out in the Act. In the Draft, the deadline for implementing the internal reporting procedure has been extended from one month to two months, staring from the day when the Act enters into force.
The internal reporting procedure, on the other hand, is to take effect in relevant entity within 14 days from being announced to the employees. In the previous version, the term “two weeks” was used.
Keeping records of the reports
Data of two additional categories are to be collected for the records of internal reporting: personal data of reporting person and of person concerned, and the reporting person’s contact address.
Both in the previously and currently proposed draft legislation, a general rule has been adopted that data that could potentially identify the reporting person shall not be disclosed. However, in the current Draft the provision allowing an exception to the above rule has been tightened by introducing the need to obtain the 'express consent of the reporting person'.
The time periods for keeping personal data processed in connection with accepting a report and follow-up activities have been made more specific. The general principle is that the time periods of 12 months and 15 months do not run from the moment when personal data is obtained by the entity, but from the end of the calendar year in which such data was obtained.
The Draft does not provide for the punishment of attempts to hinder reporting. Only actual hindering of reporting is subject to a fine or deprivation of liberty.
In the Draft, the term "internal procedure" has been replaced by "internal reporting procedure".
The Draft has not been sent to the Sejm yet, although this may change soon.
We are monitoring the work on whistleblower protection legislation on an ongoing basis.
We will keep you informed of any changes and on the commencement of subsequent legislative stages.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the implementation of whistleblower protection and about the whistleblowing procedure in your organisation.