Whistleblower Protection Act

Published by: Marieke Hartkoorn posted on 11 October 2021 reading time

Is what is intended achieved?

Whistle-blowers contribute to the prevention and uncovering of abuses, fraud and corruption within (government) organisations. History shows that whistle-blowers are not only praised, but sometimes experience far-reaching negative consequences.

These negative consequences are undesirable and therefore whistle-blowers must be protected according to the European legislator.

House for Whistleblowers

Since 1 July 2016, the Act on the House for Whistleblowers has been in force. This law regulates the possibilities and protection of employees who want to report a suspected wrongdoing.

The law stipulates, for example, that an employer with 50 employees or more must lay down in an internal procedure how reports are dealt with. This procedure must in any case deal with what a suspicion of wrongdoing is, to whom the report can be made and how the report is dealt with. The employer is obliged to provide all employees with a (digital) copy of the procedure.

Unfortunately, the current legislation does not provide enough security and protection for whistle-blowers and is therefore being changed.

European whistle-blowing directive

In 2019, the EU Whistleblower Directive was adopted, which must be implemented in Dutch law by 17 December 2021.

The Directive lays down common minimum standards for the protection of reporters of malpractice and offers more far-reaching possibilities of reporting.

Under the directive, more organisations will be required to set up internal whistle-blowing procedures, sometimes even with fewer than 50 employees. There are also better support and protection measures for the whistleblowers, including the possibility of making the report directly outside the organisation. Finally, the Works Council will be given a more important role, as it will have the right of consent to the internal whistleblowing procedure.

Whistleblower Protection Act

On 1 June 2021, the Bill on the Protection of Whistleblowers was submitted, implementing the EU Directive. This bill was not received positively by all groups in the Lower House. The question that was asked several times was whether the Directive had been transposed adequately, sufficiently and clearly in the legislative proposal, and why the Directive had not been implemented in its entirety.

In a critical article in de Volkskrant, Lousewies van der Laan (director of Transparency International Netherlands) and members of the Lower House Renske Leijten and Pieter Omtzigt explain why the proposed legislation is inadequate. The current proposed implementation is unnecessarily complex and limited to the minimum, according to the authors.

The final shape of the Whistleblower Protection Act has not yet been determined. When there is more clarity, we will inform you. If your organisation has not yet drawn up the compulsory internal whistleblower policy, we can help you with this. We invite you to contact one of our specialists, free of obligation.