Poland: Ministry of Family and Social Policy publishes whistleblowing bill, launches consultation
The Ministry of Family and Social Policy published, on 18 October 2021, a draft act on the protection of persons who report violations of the law, as introduced by Małgorzata Podrażka, alongside a justification document, a Regulatory Impact Assessment ('RIA'), and a table outlining the compatibility of the bill with the Directive on the Protection of Persons who Report Breaches of Union Law (Directive (EU) 2019/1937) ('the Whistleblowing Directive').
The bill outlines, among other things, that:
- it applies to a natural person who reports or publicly discloses information about a breach of law obtained in a work-related context, including employees, job applicants, shareholders, trainees, and volunteers;
- the provisions do not apply if the information on the infringement of the law has been reported on the basis of separate provisions, in particular as a complaint or notification about the possibility of committing a crime;
- an applicant may submit an external report, without the prior submission of an internal application, and that the central body will be the Commissioner for Human Rights or the Polish Ombudsman, whilst the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection shall deal with reports concerning competition and consumer protection rules; and
- organisations that have not established an internal channel for reporting violations of the law, may be subject to a fine, as well a penalty of restriction of liberty, or imprisonment of up to three years.
According to the compatibility table, whereas Article 3 of the Whistleblowing Directive does not affect the application of Union law or the national law in relation to the protection of classified information, legal protection of professional secrecy and medical secrecy, the secrecy of the judge's deliberation, or rules on criminal procedure, Article 5 of the bill specifically outlines it shall not apply to the protection of classified information, professional secrecy, secrecy of the judge's deliberation, or criminal proceedings, and that the provisions of the same shall also not apply if the information on the infringement of the law has been reported on the basis of separate provisions, in particular as a complaint or notification about the possibility of committing a crime.
In addition, the Ministry launched, on 19 October 2021, a public consultation into the bill, ending on 17 November 2021, inviting comments to the following address: Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Department of Labor Law, ul. Nowogrodzka 1/3/5, 00-513 Warsaw, or via email to [email protected] and [email protected].
You can track the bill's progress here, and download the bill here, the justification document here, the RIA here, the compatibility table here, and the consultation information document here, all only available in Polish.