Are You Ready For The New Whistleblower Protection Laws?
Does your company satisfy at least two of the following conditions?
- annual revenue for the financial year, including any entities that the business controls, of at least $25 million;
- gross assets at the end of the financial year amount to at least $12.5 million;
- at least 50 employees.
If so, your business or organisation must have a written whistleblower policy under the new laws that are coming into effect from 1 July 2019.
To be compliant, the policy must contain specified information, including how investigations into whistleblower disclosures will proceed and how the company will ensure fair treatment of employees who are mentioned in a whistleblower disclosure. Failure to comply with the requirement to have and make available a whistleblower policy will give rise to financial penalties.
If your company does not meet at least two of the above requirements, it is not required to have a whistleblower policy. However, the company must still be aware of and comply with the new whistleblower laws.
The new laws are designed to give current and previous employees, directors, officers, suppliers and their relatives the right to report allegations of corporate misconduct in a confidential and protected manner. A person who makes a protected disclosure to an authorised recipient will be protected against civil or criminal litigation for the disclosure.
All businesses should prepare themselves for the introduction of the new laws, including developing a compliant written whistleblower policy (if necessary) and arranging training for company directors, officers and senior managers to understand their rights and obligations under the new whistleblower laws.
The statements herein are not intended to amount to advice and should not be relied upon without first obtaining specific advice applicable to your situation.