EU Whistleblower Directive enforcement date nears: Ripple effects expected across Europe
All EU Member States have to transpose the new EU Whistleblower Protection Directive (EU) 2019/1937 (hereinafter: the “Directive”) into national laws by 17 December 2021. Once the local whistleblowing laws have been passed, they will become applicable to all organisations with more than 250 employees of that specific EU Member State. Denmark and Sweden have already issued new whistleblowing acts, more EU Member States intend to comply with the deadline, and several are expected to have transposition delays.
Although the Directive will primarily affect companies based in an EU Member State, it will also have an impact on companies having their seat in third countries such as Switzerland: The Directive will become relevant for all those Swiss companies having subsidiaries in the EU with at least 50 employees. As the Directive is best considered as a set of minimum requirements, EU Member States are able to extend its scope. Therefore, depending on the country, even subsidiaries in the EU with less than 50 employees may be sufficient to trigger a compliance obligation.
All organisations within the scope of the Directive will therefore have to check which of its subsidiaries or branches based in the EU employ 250 or more people and will need to take appropriate action on their behalf by 17 December 2021. Companies with fewer than 250 employees must comply only two years later. In a recent article published on Corporate Compliance Insights, Frank Staelens looks at the status of implementation in the EU Member States and shows how companies can prepare for the entry into force of the Directive.
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