• 1000

Poland, as an EU member state, was required to implement to its legal system provisions of the Whistleblower Directive by 17 December 2021. Works on national whistleblowing regulations started almost three years ago. Following months of discussions resulting in several bills, in mid-April the government bill on the protection of whistleblowers was finally submitted to the Sejm. When translated to practice, the start of the legislative process at the parliamentary level means that it is now when you should start preparing your organisation for the new obligations related to the protection of whistleblowers.

Introducing the whistleblower directive, i.e.,  Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law, to the Polish legal system is one of the milestones towards creating a transparent and ethical business environment. Implementation of the Directive not only will improve the transparency of companies operations, but also reduce possible illegal actions, omissions or other violations of the law, including the risk of unintentional violation of the law.

Whistleblowers play a key role in detecting irregularities and preventing abuse in the place of work. In addition solutions required by the law, such as the preparation and implementation of an internal reporting procedure, companies should also take various actions aimed at changing the organizational culture. It should be emphasized that whistleblowers are not “snitches” that transfer information in their own interest only to gain personal benefits. The incentive for the whistleblower is to support the organization from the inside and to prevent reputational risk and reputational damage that may affect the stability of the entity’s operation.

In Poland, works on the implementation of the Directive into the Polish legal system began almost three years ago. Recently, the works have been intensified. The government’s bill on the protection of whistleblowers has just been submitted to the Sejm. In practice, the commencement of the legislative process at the level of the Sejm means that it is now when organisations should commence their preparations for the new obligations related to the protection of whistleblowers.

Entities required to have an internal whistleblowing procedure in place

Mandatory implementation

Optional implementation

An entity for which at least 50 persons renders work against a remuneration as at 1 January or 1 July of a certain year*

An entity for which less than 50 persons renders work against a remuneration as at 1 January or 1 July of a certain year *

An entity operating in the field of financial services, products and markets, as well as anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, transport safety and environmental protection - regardless of the number of people performing or performing work

Organizational units of a municipality (in Polish: gmina) or a county (in Polish: powiat) with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants

* The number of 50 persons rendering work for a remuneration for a legal entity includes full-time equivalent employees or persons providing work for remuneration otherwise than as part of the employment relationship, if they do not employ other persons for this type of work, regardless of the basis of employment.

Obligations of entities implementing their internal whistleblowing procedures

Each entity that introduces its internal reporting channels, thus enabling internal reporting (mandatory or optional), should not overlook their obligations related thereto.

Obligations to consult the trade unions on implementation of the internal whistleblowing procedure

Preparation of appropriate documents authorizing specific persons to conduct investigations in the field of reported irregularities

Ensuring protection of personal data throughout the process, at the stage of both the procedure design and in the conduct of investigations

Trainings for candidate members of investigation committees and for staff

Investigation follow-up activities

Ongoing monitoring of whistleblower legislation

Disclosure of obligations regarding the applicable internal procedure

Observance of deadlines for acknowledging a notification receipt and providing feedback to the whistleblower

Implementation of an internal whistleblowing procedure

Keeping a register of internal notifications

Providing protection for whistleblowers

Conducting investigations

Implementation timeline

In accordance with the current bill, the Whistleblowers Protection Act is to enter into force within 3 months from the date of its announcement (with certain exceptions). In our opinion, this period may be too short for employers to comprehensively implement whistleblowing procedures in their organisations. That is why it is particularly vital that organisations that will be required to undertake certain actions under the Whistleblowers Protection Act take appropriate steps right now.

Below, we present a possible timeline for the whistleblowers provisions implementation into Polish legal system, assuming that the act is published in the Journal of Laws in June.

KPMG Law whistleblowing support

KPMG Law offers comprehensive support in the process of preparation and implementation of an internal procedure relating to the protection of whistleblowers, conduct of investigations and in other activities required under the whistleblowers protection regulations. 

Update of 25 April 2024:

On 25 April 2024, the CJEU issued a judgment in the case C-147/23 European Commission vs. Poland. Under the judgement Poland is required to pay:
- EUR 7,000,000 of a lump sum for a failure to meet a deadline set for implementation of whistleblowers regulations into the Polish legal system, and
- EUR 40,000 of a daily fine from the date of the judgment announcement until the adoption of the above regulations.

Meanwhile, on 24 April 2024, the government draft law on the protection of whistleblowers was referred to the first reading in committees.

Submit request for proposal