|6 Dec 2023
|Charity Sector News
The EU Whistleblowing Directive was transposed into Irish law through the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022, and became effective on 1 January 2023.
It provided a derogation from these obligations until 17 December 2023 for organisations with between 50 and 249 employees.
Private sector organisations with 50* or more employees must now establish formal channels and procedures for their workers to make protected disclosures.
The reporting channels must:
1. Be secure to ensure confidentiality of the identity of the reporting person;
2. Acknowledge receipt of the disclosure within seven days;
3. Involve diligent follow up by a designated impartial person(s);
4. Have reasonable timeframes to provide feedback not exceeding three months; and
5. Ensure provision of clear and easily accessible information.
Employers with an existing group wide reporting channel will also be required to operate local reporting channels at subsidiary level.
The Act also extends the scope of persons who can make disclosures in the workplace to a wider cohort of ‘workers’ *including volunteers, unpaid trainees, board members, shareholders, and job applicants.
Helpfully, the legislation permits for a company’s internal reporting channel to be operated by an external third party - the benefits of this approach are that it helps compliance with reporting obligations, simplifies the reporting channel(s) into a solution, promotes confidence in the reporting process, preserves the independence of the process, and encourages your employees to speak up internally, rather than externally, about potential wrongdoing in your workplace.