The Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act
Like all other members of the European union, the Netherlands is required to transpose the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive, entailing changes to the current national law which will become the Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act (Wet Bescherming Klokkenluiders). The EU Directive obliges businesses with 50 employees or more to have a reporting channel for a broad spectrum of potential whistleblowers, and forbids reprisals against whistleblowers. The deadline for transposition was 17th December 2021, which the Netherlands did not meet.
What is the current status of the Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act?
As at February 2022, the Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act is not yet in place. However the Netherlands is considered to already have comprehensive whistleblower protection through its House for Whistleblowers Act (Wet Huis voor klokkenluiders). This Act will need to be amended to incorporate all the elements of the EU Directive, and a proposed bill was submitted to the House of Representatives on 1 June 2021. After approval from the House of Representatives, the bill will need to be approved by the Senate.
Currently it is intended that the new Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act will come into force in Spring 2022, and dates for compliance are as follows:
- For organisations with more than 249 employees: Spring 2022 (date to be confirmed)
- For organisations with 50-249 employees: 17 December 2023.
The Netherlands Whistleblower Protection Act, House for Whistleblowers Act (Wet Huis voor klokkenluiders), has been amended to transpose the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive into the Dutch national laws. It is expected to be actioned Spring 2022.
What to do while awaiting the Dutch Whistleblower Protection Act
There is good news for companies in the Netherlands who would prefer to start preparations for compliance now rather than wait for the amended Dutch law. 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. While there are some expansions of scope and omissions in the proposed Dutch Act, it is very much aligned to the Directive’s minimum standards.
We therefore recommend that organisations investigate these minimum requirements (see below) already now, and identify solutions that can help fulfil them.
- 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.