HR Signal: The EU Whistleblowing Directive

Read more

The current status of the Directive implementation


  • The Directive adopted by the European Parliament and the Council was published in the EU Official Journal on 26 November 2019. It became effective on 16 December 2019 and the deadline for all Member States to implement it was set on 17 December 2021. The full text of the Directive is available here.
  • The minister responsible for carrying out the legislative work to transpose the Directive, Labour Minister Jarosław Gowin, was appointed under the Prime Minister’s regulation of 1 December 2020.
  • Under the 10 December 2020 regulation, Jarosław Gowin set up a team to transpose the Directive
  • On 4 October 2021, the main points of the bill were drafted, containing key information for entrepreneurs on the subject.
  • The Polish bill on the protection of persons who report breaches of the law was published on 18 October 2021 on the Government Legislation Centre website. The bill, together with a record of the legislative process, is available here.
  • At the consultative stage, the Ministry has received hundreds of pages of comments to the bill from various experts.
  • 17 December was the deadline for all Member States to transpose the Directive into their national legislation.
  • The last of the comments received at the consultative stage were submitted to the Sejm on 30 December 2021.
  • According to the Deputy Minister for Family and Social Policy, the final version of the bill should be ready in January, and further work will be carried out in the first quarter of 2022.
  • 28th July 2022: After public consultation, the draft bill with a divergency record went to the European Affairs Committee.
  • 5th August 2022: The Committee’s deadline for feedback passed.
  • After reviewing the project the Committee provided a number of remarks:
    • The Government Legislation Centre requested clarification on the list of retaliatory actions and the concept of “sharing” resources for investigating whistleblower reports.
    • The Ministry of Finance raised concerns about staffing the Ombudsperson’s office and the unification of staffing regulations for legal entities in the private sector.
    • The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection flagged certain terms requiring clearer definitions.
    • The Ministry of the Interior and Administration suggested the Public Prosecutor’s Office, not the Commissioner for Human Rights, should receive whistleblower reports and also proposed granting the prosecutor the authority to award whistleblower protection status.
    • The Ministry of Justice highlighted the need for additional judges, assistants, and officials to handle the expanded jurisdiction of courts under the proposed bill.
  • The applicant has yet to address the comments and final conclusions of the Committee for European Affairs (CEA).
  • The next step should be for the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee to consider the project.
  • As part of the subsequent legislative work carried out by the CEA, two further drafts of the bill were published to address the comments received. The fifth draft, dated 13th December 2022, and the sixth draft, dated 5th January 2023, were both marked as the final text.
  • Proposed amendments included the requirement to obtain explicit consent from whistleblowers before their identifying information could be released while processing the report and the establishment of a whistleblower’s protection certificate, as well as enhanced penalties for non-compliance with statutory obligations.
  • 25th May 2023: Having carried out further work on the bill, the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee published the seventh draft, dated 6th February 2023, and the amended eighth draft, dated 27th March 2023.
  • The original proposal to introduce staggered implementation dates for the whistleblower provisions has been scrapped. Instead, all employers with at least 50 employees will have one day to implement the whistleblower provisions following the announcement of the regulations in the Journal of Laws.
  • August 2023: Further revisions to the bill resulted in the ninth draft, which introduced a requirement for employers to establish a procedure for both internal and external whistleblower reporting within 1.5 months before the remaining provisions of the Act took effect. Additionally, the vacatio legis period was extended to 14 days.
  • The ninth draft of the bill also proposed that employers would have the discretion to determine whether to accept anonymous whistleblower reports. The legislator opted out of regulating this at the statutory level.
  • 11th January 2024: Building upon the work of its predecessor, the newly elected government introduced the latest version of the whistleblower bill. This iteration largely aligns with previous proposals, while incorporating a new requirement for employers to consult employee representatives (either trade unions or individual employee representatives) on reporting procedures.
  • The latest draft extends the range of potential legal violations covered by reporting requirements to include selected provisions of national law. Furthermore, it has been decided that the body responsible for receiving external reports will be the Ombudsman and not the State Labour Inspectorate.
  • The law is expected to take effect one month after its official publication. Notably, companies will have just one month after that to establish their own internal whistleblower reporting procedures.

Update: 16th January 2024.