The time has finally come: the Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act has been adopted by parliament. We expect it will inter into force within a few weeks. This article contains a 10-step plan for introducing or revising your whistleblowing procedure. You can also request our whitepaper.
After the amended Whistleblower Protection Act was unanimously passed by the Lower House on 20 December 2022, it was approved unchanged by the Senate on 24 January 2023. It is not yet known when the new law will take effect, but we expect it to be soon, perhaps as early as 1 March. If your organisation has more than 249 employees or if you are subject to financial or anti-money laundering legislation, you should be ready by then. If your organisation has 50-249 employees, you still have until 17 December 2023. However, it would make sense to get started already. After all, several parties have to agree to the new procedure. And you may need to select some software and/or find an independent coordinator.
We have drawn up a 10-step plan to comply with the Whistleblower Protection Act. It starts by answering six questions. Then the whistleblowing procedure can be established and communicated. Would you like to know more of the background to the questions, the next steps and our advice? Then request our whitepaper using the contact form, and mention ‘whitepaper’.
These are the six questions you should answer first before establishing or reviewing the whistleblowing procedure:
- Do we need to launch a whistleblowing procedure? For which entities?
- What can be reported according to our procedure?
- Who is allowed to make a report?
- How do we set up oral/written/anonymous reporting channels?
- Who will be the independent coordinator(s) of the whistleblowing procedure?
- How do we secure the reporting channel and the register?
Once you have answered these questions, you can start working on the next steps:
- (Re)design the whistleblowing procedure and investigation protocol
- Get approval from management and consent from the works council/employees
- Ensure that management recognises a whistleblower report and knows what to do next
- Communicate the updated whistleblowing procedure
Bear in mind that the House for Whistleblowers may impose sanctions if you do not comply with the law. And employees may go to the subdistrict court to enforce a proper procedure.
Finally, it is also good to know that the works council should receive a report at least annually.
If you would like to know more about what will change under the Whistleblower Protection Act or if you would like more background information regarding this roadmap and our advice, please request our white paper using the contact form. Fill in your contact details and mention ‘whitepaper’.