Law on Protection of Reporters of Irregularities – Novelties and Amendments
On 23 April 2022, the new Law on the Protection of Reporters of Irregularities (Official Gazette 46/2022) has entered into force. Article 21, paragraph 1 of the same law prescribes the obligation of the employer to adopt a new general act which will regulate the procedure for internal reporting of irregularities and the procedure for appointing a trusted person and his deputy. A period of 2 months from the date of entering into force of the new law is prescribed for the adoption of new general act of the employer and a period of 3 months from the entering into force of the law for the appointment of a trusted person and his deputy, all under threat of misdemeanor liability. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the most important changes in the procedure for internal reporting of irregularities adopted by the new Law on the Protection of Reporters of Irregularities with an emphasis on the obligations of employers.
The obligation to establish a system for internal reporting of irregularities still binds the employer who employs at least 50 workers, while employers who employ less than 50 workers can establish system by choice, except in cases for which the law explicitly prescribes the obligation to establish a system for internal reporting of irregularities regardless of the number of workers. The novelty is that employers who employ between 50 and 249 workers can, under certain conditions, share resources in terms of receiving applications and conducting proceedings.
The main changes relate to the procedure for appointing a trusted person and his deputy. These persons are now appointed by the proposal of the Workers Council or union commissioner who took over the rights and obligations of the Workers Council, and alternatively, if they are not established at the employer – at the proposal of at least 20% of workers employed by the employer. If there are no proposals from the above-mentioned persons, the employer may appoint a trusted person and a deputy by himself.
Regarding the procedure for internal reporting of irregularities, the deadlines within which the trusted person is obliged to act have been changed and the duty of briefing regarding received reports of irregularities and the outcome of the proceedings to the Ombudsman has been established. Trusted persons are also obliged to keep records of each report of irregularities received, in accordance with the requirements regarding confidentiality and in the manner prescribed by law.
Considering the above-mentioned changes, and as stated in the introduction to this article, the legislator has prescribed the obligation for employers to adopt a new general act and the obligation to appoint a trusted person and deputy (which does not mean that the same persons cannot be appointed again, but they must be appointed in accordance with the new appointment procedure). In conclusion, it is necessary to warn once again of the misdemeanor liability for non-compliance with the mentioned deadlines. We remind you that the deadline for bringing the employers general act is 2 months from the day of the law entering into force, this deadline expired on June 24, 2022 and the deadline for appointing a trusted person and his deputy is 3 months from the day of the law entering into force, that is until July 24, 2022.