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Are you prepared for the new Whistleblowing Act?9 December, 2021
Making it easier, safer and more secure for employees to alert about misconduct and irregularities in their workplace. This is the main purpose of the new Whistleblowing Act that will enter into force in Sweden on December 17, 2021. What are the new regulations and what do employers need to keep in mind? Find out the answers here below.
What is changed in the new Whistleblowing Act?
Protection for employees who sound the alarm about malpractice or irregularities, either internally in the workplace or to the authorities and the media, already exists in Swedish legislation. The new act, however, strengthens protection in several respects.
These are the most significant changes:
- A wider group of people. Whereas the existing protection only covers employees and hired workers, the new legislation also covers additional groups, such as jobseekers, self-employed people, volunteers, trainees, company management and shareholders who are active in the company.
- Public interest is sufficient. According to existing legislation, it is largely required that it is a crime that can result in imprisonment in order for you to sound the alarm. According to the new whistleblower act, you have the right to report misconduct where there is a public interest in what comes out, regardless of any penalty.
- Stricter confidentialty requirements. Information about the whistleblower’s identity is covered in the new Whistleblower Act by the strongest form of secrecy and may under no circumstances be disclosed.
- New requirements for reporting channels . According to the new law, employers with at least 50 employees are obliged to set up special internal reporting channels for whistleblowing (read more about this below.
What is meant by internal reporting channels?
The purpose of internal reporting channels is to provide ways for those who need to send an alert that allow them to do so in a safe and secure manner. As an employee, you must be able to report a matter in writing, orally or at a physical meeting. There must also be clear routines in the workplace to follow up on cases and provide feedback to the person who submitted the alert.
What do employers have to consider?
Some businesses already have some form of whistleblower channel in place. Other workplaces lack such functions and for them it is now (unless you are a small company) mandatory to get started with both technical solutions and routines that meet the requirements of the new Whistleblowing Act.
Issues that you and your company need to consider are, for example:
– what the reporting channel should look like (e-mail, telephone, physical meeting or digital solution)
– who is to act as the person(s), department or team responsible for investigating cases
– how and when follow-up and communication about cases should take place
– how to ensure the protection of the whistleblower’s anonymity
When will the new Whistleblowing Act come into force?
The new act will come into force on 17 December 2021. Depending on their size, however, companies and organizations have different time frames when it comes to implementing the mandatory whistleblower channels after the law has entered into force. By 17 July 2022, all employers with at least 250 employees and all public employers with 50–249 employees must have a reporting function in place. Are you a private employer with 50-249 employees? In this case, you will have a bit more time to get prepared, as the deadline is not until December 17, 2023.
At Flex Applications we keep a close watch at the development of the new Whistleblower Act and are currently working on developing support to meet the need for a safe and easy-to-use reporting channel for employees as an integral part of our personnel system Flex HRM. Keen to know more? Don’t hesitate to contact us!