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Whistleblower protection in Poland: How to prepare your company for changes? | News Flash

June 27, 2024
Accace - Whistleblower protection in Poland

On June 19, 2024, the Polish President signed the act on Whistleblower Protection in Poland, which was subsequently published in the Journal of Laws on June 24, 2024. From the date of its publication, the Act enters into a vacatio legis period. The Act will come into effect for internal reporting after 3 months from publication, and for external reporting after 6 months from publication. Consequently, employers with at least 50 workers will be required to implement internal reporting procedures by September 24, 2024.

Key objective of the Whistleblower Protection Act

The primary aim of the act on Whistleblower Protection in Poland is to establish secure reporting channels for individuals reporting violations and to protect these individuals from retaliatory actions. According to the Act, whistleblowers can be individuals reporting legal violations within an organization with which they are or have been associated under various legal titles, including job applicants, employees, individuals performing work under civil law contracts, commercial proxies, and shareholders/partners.

Reporting can be conducted internally, externally, or through public disclosure of legal violations via dedicated channels.

Whistleblower Protection Act signed by the President of Poland

After reaching the Senate, the draft of act on Whistleblower Protection in Poland underwent further amendments. The proposed changes were quickly adopted by both the Sejm and the Senate. Ultimately, on June 19, 2024, the President of Poland signed the Act, which was published in the Journal of Laws on June 24, 2024.

From this date, entrepreneurs have 3 months to implement internal procedures that enable secure reporting by whistleblowers.

The final version of the act on Whistleblower Protection in Poland introduced few changes, mostly stylistic, to the version previously proposed by the Sejm. The most significant change is the removal of issues related to labor law from the scope of the Act. This means that internal procedures prepared by employers will not allow whistleblowers to report labor law violations.

Implementation obligations under the Whistleblower Protection Act

The obligation to implement internal reporting procedures for whistleblower protection in Poland applies to, among others:

  • Private entities employing more than 50 people (regardless of the legal basis of provided work)
  • Institutions subject to specific regulatory requirements (including entities operating in financial services, products, and markets); these entities must implement internal procedures regardless of the number of employees.

Who can be a whistleblower?

  • employee (including a temporary employee)
  • a person performing work on a basis other than employment relationship (including under a civil law contract)
  • entrepreneur
  • shareholder or partner
  • a member of the body of a legal entity or an organizational unit without legal personality
  • person performing work under the supervision and direction of a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier
  • intern
  • trainee
  • volunteer
  • officials from various services such as Police, Internal Security Agency, Intelligence Agency, Military Counterintelligence Service, Military Intelligence Service, Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, Border Guard, Marshal Guard, State Protection Service, State Fire Service, Customs and Tax Service, and Prison Service, as well as their families
  • soldier.

What legal areas can whistleblower reports concern?

Reports can address a wide range of legal issues, including but not limited to:

  • corruption
  • anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing
  • consumer protection
  • privacy and personal data protection
  • constitutional human rights and freedoms
  • environmental protection
  • public health
  • network and information system security
  • transportation safety.

Key provisions of the act on Whistleblower Protection in Poland

  • Protection of whistleblowers reporting or publicly disclosing legal violations, also if their report is based on reasonable suspicion
  • A wide range of individuals associated with an organization can become whistleblowers, regardless of their legal relationship with the organization
  • Retaliatory actions against protected whistleblowers can result in a claim for compensation of at least the average monthly salary
  • A whistleblower whose report is ultimately incorrect but was based on reasonable suspicion will still be protected, meaning they cannot be held liable
  • Internal or external, reporting channels are available for reporting legal violations, or public disclosure can be conducted
  • It is possible to allow submission of anonymous reports under mandatory established procedures
  • The Ombudsman and other public bodies are designated to handle external reports
  • The Ombudsman will also provide information and legal assistance to protected individuals affected by retaliatory actions regarding their rights and legal protection measures.

How can Accace support you

We invite you to contact our specialists who, based on their many years of experience, will help you understand the challenges of implementing the law, as well as propose appropriate solutions and guide you through the full implementation process as part of our legal advisory in Poland.

Michał Mostrąg
Senior Associate | Accace Poland
Get in touch with us
Agnieszka Samborska
Legal Adviser and Partner | Accace Poland
Book a meeting with Agnieszka
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