What is the current status of the Belgian Whistleblower Protection law?
There is currently no national Belgian Whistleblower Protection law. The country has a number of specific regulations, largely protecting people working in federal administrative governments, or requiring private sector companies operating in the financial markets to have internal reporting channels in place. The transposition of the EU Directive will thus require a big shift for Belgian authorities, organisations, companies and employees.
A draft legislative proposal for the private sector was published in 2021 on which the National Labour Council provided its opinion. The Government has indicated that the Belgian Whistleblower Protection law will be ready by summer 2022.
The Belgian Whistleblowing Protection Law draft has been created to transpose the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive into Belgian national laws. It is expected to be actioned Summer 2022. Belgian currently has no whistleblower protection laws, though regulations protect employees in certain markets.
What to do while awaiting the Belgian Whistleblower Protection law
There is good news for companies in Belgium who would prefer to start preparations for compliance now rather than wait for the Belgian Whistleblower Protection law to come into effect. The EU Directive sets a number of minimum standards that will apply in all member states and to all organisations with more than 50 employees. Organisations may therefore choose to familiarise themselves with these minimum requirements (see below), prepare for the establishment of an internal reporting mechanism, and avoid retaliation measures against whistleblowers.
- A secure channel for receiving whistleblower reports must be put in place.
- Acknowledgment of the receipt of the report must be provided to the whistleblower within seven days.
- An impartial person or department must be appointed to follow up on the reports.
- Records must be kept of every report received, in compliance with confidentiality requirements.
- There must be diligent follow-up of the report by the designated person or department.
- Feedback about the report follow-up must be given to the whistleblower within three months.
- All processing of personal data must be done in accordance with the GDPR.