How to prepare for the Swedish whistleblower protection law
At the end of June, the proposal for a new Swedish whistleblower protection law was announced, making Sweden the first EU member state to publish a suggested local enactment of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. As we highlighted in a recent article, even though the deadline for transposition and compliance is just over a year away, progress in defining these local laws varies greatly across the EU. We will update you on major movements, continuing here with the proposed Swedish whistleblower protection law.
As required, the Swedish proposal complies fully with the core requirements of the EU directive. This includes the major obligations related to the whistleblowing system that organisations need to provide. In a nutshell, they specify conditions for confidentiality of the whistleblower, response times, competent persons, follow-up and feedback, information, GDPR and record-keeping.
Sweden’s proposal also contains a number of differences, or additions, which we have highlighted here. They primarily relate to the application of the law generally rather than to obligations regarding the whistleblowing system.
1. The proposed Swedish whistleblower protection law has a broader reporting scope
What the EU Whistleblower Directive says: Protection is given for infringements of EU law.
The proposed Swedish law also provides protection for those reporting on infringements of Swedish law. It also covers the reporting of information about circumstances that need to be exposed in the interests of the general public.
2. Who will ensure that the law is enforced in Sweden?
What the EU Whistleblower Directive says: Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 17 December 2021.
The Swedish Work Environment Authority will be responsible for overseeing that employers in Sweden fully implement internal reporting channels. Organisations that do not provide reporting channels may be penalised.
3. The proposed Swedish whistleblower protection law has a broad application in the public sector
What the EU Whistleblower Directive says: Member States may exempt from the obligation (…) municipalities with fewer than 10 000 inhabitants or fewer than 50 workers.
The proposed Swedish law applies to all local authorities, even those with fewer than 10,000 residents.
Preparing your whistleblowing system for the Swedish whistleblower protection law
With the publication of the Swedish proposal, we are now seeing growing awareness from both the public and private sectors that this is something they need to act upon soon. And there is plenty that they can do now to get ahead of the curve, even though the law is currently still a proposal.
To ensure you are on track for compliance, make sure your preparations take the following requirements into account:
- Secure reporting channels that ensure confidentiality for the whistleblower
- Communication of reporting options to workers, suppliers, business partners, etc. This includes information regarding external reporting options, such as to a competent authority
- Protection of whistleblowers against retaliation, including suppliers, former employees, customers, family members, etc
- Assignment of a suitable, impartial person to receive and follow up on reports
- Acknowledgement of reports within 7 days, and feedback within 3 months
For more details take a look at our top tips on compliance readiness, on the WhistleB resource centre on the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. We are also offering organisations a free trial of the WhistleB ‘Ready-to-Launch’ system, which is compliant with the core requirements of the new directive as well as the GDPR.
Otherwise feel free to contact us directly if you have questions about the Swedish whistleblower protection law.
Karin Henriksson, Director, WhistleB Whistleblowing Centre
+46 70 444 32 16