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Expanding Whistleblowing Requirements Soon to Include Medium-Sized Companies

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Expanding Whistleblowing Requirements Soon to Include Medium-Sized Companies</span>

Please be aware that this article primarily pertains to Swedish rules and regulations, which may not necessarily apply or be valid in jurisdictions outside of Sweden.

Does your company employ 50 or more people? In that case, it's essential to be prepared for the new legal requirements regarding whistleblowing channels. We'll guide you through what you, as an employer, need to consider.

It could be environmental offenses, bribery, conflicts of interest, theft, and fraud. A procurement process that doesn't seem quite right. Or harassment and discrimination. When someone reports something unethical, illegal, or inappropriate, it's called whistleblowing. On December 17, 2021, Sweden introduced a new Whistleblowing Act to make reporting easier, safer, and more secure.

Here's What the New Whistleblowing Act Entails

We already have legislation in Sweden to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, but the new Whistleblowing Act strengthens protection on several fronts. For instance, the law states that it's sufficient for there to be a public interest for someone to blow the whistle – previously, it essentially required a crime with imprisonment on the penalty scale. The law also covers a broader range of individuals who can blow the whistle and be protected from retaliation.

However, the significant difference compared to before is that there are now requirements for how reporting should occur. Firstly, companies must have an internal whistleblowing channel where employees can report. Secondly, there should be clear procedures in the workplace for following up on cases and providing feedback to the whistleblower. We'll go into what this means more concretely below.

Read more about the changes in the new Whistleblowing Act here.

How Should Reporting Be Carried Out?

So, how should reporting meet the new legal requirements? And what about follow-up? In short, the law states the following:

  • Reporting can be done in writing, orally, or through a physical meeting.

  • Within seven days of the report being filed, the whistleblower must receive confirmation that the report has been received.

  • The organization must appoint individuals or departments to handle whistleblowing cases, which, in turn, must be independent or autonomous from the employer.

  • GDPR provisions apply to all personal data in the report.

  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure apply to the handling and investigation of tips.

  • Not only employees but also other groups, such as job seekers, volunteers, interns, consultants, and former employees, should be able to whistleblow.

  • Information about channels and procedures should be documented in writing. This documentation should, upon request, be provided to The Swedish Work Environment Authority during an inspection.

 

That’s When Your Company Needs a Whistleblowing Channel in Place

The Whistleblowing Act came into effect on December 17, 2021. However, the deadline for implementing reporting channels varies depending on the size of the organization:

  • July 17, 2022, was the deadline for government-controlled businesses and companies with 250 or more employees.

  • December 17, 2023, is the deadline for private companies with 50-249 employees.

Digital Whistleblowing Channel – What Are the Pros?

So, is the company required to have system support for whistleblowing? In short: No. Nothing in the Whistleblowing Act specifies the technical aspects of reporting – as long as the company meets the requirements we mentioned earlier. This means a whistleblowing channel could also be something as simple as an email address or a phone number made available to everyone in the organization.

That being said, many employers opt for a digital solution, and there are several compelling reasons to do so. First and foremost, a whistleblowing system is designed to provide anonymity and security for reporters, all while ensuring compliance with GDPR and confidentiality requirements. Another significant advantage is accessibility. With a digital interface, employees can submit their reports with just a few clicks, saving time and reducing barriers to reporting. Furthermore, case management is automated, resulting in quicker responses and a more efficient process from start to finish.

Last but not least, demonstrating that the company takes whistleblowing seriously is positive for the employer brand and contributes to fostering a corporate culture that promotes transparency and responsibility.

Simplify Whistleblowing With Flex HRM and Qnister Whistle

Did you know that here at Flex Applications, we can offer a digital whistleblowing channel directly within our personnel system, Flex HRM? Through the whistleblowing function provided in collaboration with Qnister, employees can report their concerns quickly, safely, and anonymously – just scan a QR code, and you'll be directed to the form in Qnister's cloud service. Contact us if you want to learn more!

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