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EU Whistleblowing Directive Tracker

EU Whistleblowing Directive Tracker

Individuals working in private or public organisations are often the first to know about threats to the public interest and violations of EU law. However, fear of retaliation, i.e. an act that occurs within the work-related context in response to a whistleblower report and which may cause detriment to the whistleblower, may discourage reporting of breaches in a work-related context.

In light of the fragmented legislative approaches towards whistleblowers' protection, the European Commission issued, on 23 April 2018, a legislative proposal for the Directive on the Protection of Persons who Report Breaches of Union Law (Directive (EU) 2019/1937) ('the Whistleblowing Directive'), which aims to set out some common minimum standards throughout the EU for the protection of whistleblowers.

The proposal was adopted by the European Parliament at its first reading through a resolution on 16 April 2019.

Following the European Parliament's approval, the Council of the European Union adopted, on 7 October 2019, the Whistleblowing Directive (press release available here), which was subsequently published in the Official Journal of the EU on 26 November 2019. The Whistleblowing Directive entered into force on 16 December 2019, twenty days after its publication in the Official Journal. Member States were required to transpose the Whistleblowing Directive into national legislation by 17 December 2021.

Shortly after the deadline for transposition, the European Commission initiated, on 27 January 2022, infringement proceedings against Member States that did not transpose the Whistleblowing Directive in a timely manner (infringement decisions available here).

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  • Status
  • Last Update
  • Official Text
  • Austria
    • Draft law in progress

    • 03/06/2022

    2 August 2021: There is no publicly available draft bill implementing the Whistleblowing Directive. However, the Federal Minister of Labour confirmed that a bill is currently being worked on and is expected to be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2021 (announcement, only available to download in German, here).

    27 January 2022: The European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Austria (infringement decisions available here). 

    9 February 2022: Please note that the Province of Tyrol has adopted the Law of 9 February 2022 on the establishment of whistleblower systems for certain violations of Union law and the protection of whistleblowers (only available in German here), and the Law of 9 February 2022 with which accompanying regulations to the Whistleblower Act are enacted (only available in German here), to implement the Whistleblowing Directive. OneTrust DataGuidance confirmed with Dietmar Huemer, Attorney at Legis, that these laws relate to the internal organisation of the provincial agencies, as well as other public entities subject to provincial legislation, such as the municipalities. The laws, therefore, have a limited impact, relating to the public sector in the Province of Tyrol only.

    20 April 2022: The State of Burgenland has adopted two laws (only available in German here and here) to transpose the Whistleblowing Directive. As is the case with the Province of Tyrol, such laws have limited effect on private entities.

    3 June 2022: The Federal Ministry of Labour submitted to the National Council a draft law to implement the Whistleblowing Directive for public consultation (consultation page and accompanying materials, only available in German, here). According to the legislative brief, the draft law is currently limited to implementing the minimum standards established by the Whistleblowing Directive, in view of keeping the burden on small and medium-sized companies low. Comments on the draft may be provided until 15 July 2022.

  • Belgium
    • Draft law in progress

    • 25/02/2022

    9 January 2021: The Parliament passed a motion for a resolution on measures to protect whistleblowers and for the implementation of the Whistleblowing Directive (motion, only available in Dutch and French, here).

    27 January 2022: The European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Belgium (infringement decisions available here).

    25 February 2022: The Council of Ministers approved a preliminary draft law to transpose the Whistleblowing Directive. Please note that the text of the draft law is currently not publicly available, although it has been submitted to the Council of State for consideration (press release, only available in French and Dutch, here and here).

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