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On 12 May 2023, the Federal Council passed the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) as a national implementation of EU Directive 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law.

Since 17 December 2023, companies with more than 50 employees and cities and municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants are now also obliged to introduce whistleblower systems. Violations can be punished with severe fines of up to 50,000 euros or exclusion from public contracts.

We can help you to master the associated requirements and challenges relating to your employees and the system.

If you already have a whistleblowing system in place, we will support you in ensuring that it meets all legal and organisational requirements. In addition to compliance with legal requirements, we can also test conformity with recognised norms and standards on request. We then support you in closing any identified gaps.

If you have not yet established a whistleblowing system, we will support you in creating and implementing processes and guidelines for implementing the Whistleblower Protection Act and downstream processes and, if necessary, in carrying out the necessary training and communication methods.

Of course, you can also use our technical (online) platform, the KPMG Whistleblower Channel, as a secure, user-friendly and cost-effective solution and, if desired, act as an independent receiving centre for reports received.

We also support you in the ongoing operation of your whistleblowing system and the downstream processes, for example in crisis management, conducting special investigations and implementing preventive measures.

Relevance of whistleblowers

Whistleblowers play an important role in uncovering wrongdoing in companies. According to the latest KPMG study on white-collar crime in Germany 2023, 52 per cent of white-collar crime is discovered through open reports from within the company and 34 per cent from outside the company. Around 25 per cent of white-collar crime is identified by anonymous tip-offs.

Every year, white-collar crime causes considerable damage to companies, which can be significantly limited or even completely avoided with an effective and efficient whistleblower system. The whistleblower system serves as an early warning system for risk control and helps to protect your company from material and immaterial damage and the management from liability in the event of offences.

The Whistleblower Protection Act

The law is intended to protect whistleblowers from reprisals or negative consequences when reporting criminal offences, fines and other violations of federal and state legislation. This protection applies not only to (former) employees, interns and trainees of a company, but also to third parties such as customers and suppliers.

The Whistleblower Protection Act places the following requirements, among others, on (internal or external) whistleblower systems:

  • Possibility of written and/or verbal reporting
  • Decision on the possibility of anonymous reports
  • No access for unauthorised persons to the reporting channels
  • Confirmation of receipt of the reports to the whistleblower within seven days of receipt
  • Appointment of an impartial person or department to contact the whistleblower
  • Taking follow-up action, such as an internal investigation
  • Feedback to the whistleblower within three months of acknowledgement of receipt of the report, including details of any action taken

Our technical solution - the KPMG Whistleblower Channel

Our whistleblower system offers you a secure, user-friendly and cost-effective solution for setting up and managing an effective whistleblower system that ensures compliance with the future legal requirements of the Whistleblower Protection Act and defined reporting deadlines.  

Our solution is available online around the clock, can be accessed via mobile devices and can be used in various languages. Whistleblowers also have the option of attaching files in various formats.

Our globally active experts have extensive experience in the prevention, detection and investigation of white-collar crime, compliance violations and misconduct.

On request, we act as an independent receiving centre for information received. In this role, we provide feedback to the whistleblower within the specified reporting deadlines, engage in anonymous communication with the whistleblower if required and make an initial assessment of the reported facts based on our expertise. We then forward the prepared report, including all information, to the contact persons you have designated for a decision on how to proceed.

Alternatively, you can also use the whistleblower system completely autonomously.

Your advantages

An effective whistleblower system significantly reduces the risk of reputational damage, fines or legal disputes. You strengthen your company profile in the eyes of the public, potential investors and (future) employees, customers and suppliers. The whistleblowing reports you receive also serve as a source of knowledge for identifying potential weaknesses in your company and sensitising employees to avoid unethical or illegal behaviour.

Our colleagues at KPMG Law* are on hand to answer any legal questions you may have on the subject of whistleblower protection.

* Legal services are provided by KPMG Law Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.

Further Information (in German only)

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