Be prepared for transposition
The whistleblower directive proposal was adopted by the European Parliament 16 April in the first reading face. Now the only thing left is the final rubber-stamping and publication of the proposal in the Official Journal of the EU. Once that is done and dusted we will be moving to the next face: transposition of the directive. Trade unions have the opportunity to influence how the directive will play out on national level.
There are four major issues for trade unions to fix during the two-year transposition period:
1. Fix trade union rights
- The right to be represented by a trade union must be included.
2. Fix the scope
- Workers rights, discrimination and occupational health and safety must be give right to protection when reporting. Or even better: cover breaches in all areas by a horizontal protection.
- Make sure to include national legislation, not only EU law.
3. Fix the internal reporting
- Reporting internally to a line manager, supervisor, or the HR-department must grant protection and not only using the
dedicated internal reporting channel. This is not clear enough in the directive.
4. Fix the criminal-offence trap
- National law determines if reporting persons are liable for “selfstanding criminal offences”. It must be safe to use documents at the work-place for a report without risking criminal liability.
Who are protected by the directive?
The directive protects persons who report in a work-related context in both the private and public sector. The list of who are protected is open but includes more than employees, such as for example self-employed, unpaid volunteers, shareholders and subcontractors. Protection is granted also when in a recruiting process for a new job or after a job has ended. Third persons, such as relatives and colleagues and ‘facilitators’ who give confidential assistance to the whistleblower are protected as well.
What can you blow the whistle on and be protected?
The reporting person must have reasonable grounds to believe that the information reported was true at the time of reporting and that the information falls within the scope of the Directive.
The scope includes breaches in public procurement, financial services, prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, product safety, transport safety, protection of the environment, radiation protection and nuclear safety, food and feed safety, animal health and welfare, public health, consumer protection, protection of privacy and personal data and security of network and information systems, protection of the financial interests of the Union, breaches of internal market rules, including competition and State aid rules and corporate taxation.
Not only unlawful acts are included in the scope but also acts and omissions that go against the objective of a Union law.
The official adoption of the whistleblower directive is foreseen for the autumn. The directive protects persons who report in a work-related context inboth the private and public sector.
On Tuesday it was all about the euphoria of the whistleblower protection Directive being adopted by the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg. Now the hard work begins again, as politicians, trade unions, NGOs and whistleblowers meet to discuss; “The future of the new [whistleblower protection] Directive”, at a civil society event at the European Parliament, on the 17th of April.
In the final session before the EU elections, the European Parliament will vote for a new EU Directive to protect whistleblowers in Europe. Civil society played an essential role in making this happen.
Warm applause greeted the unanimous adoption of last week’s trilogue provisional agreement on whistleblower protection, at today’s European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee.
Members of the WhistleblowersProtection.EU platform mainly welcomed the provisional agreement reached by the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council, in the early hours of the 12th of March.
The European Union is expected to shortly adopt the EU’s flagship whistleblower protection directive. EPSU, believes it is essential that the final legislation fully protects whistleblowers and encourages whistleblowers to report wrongdoing, through which ever route they consider most appropriate, be that the media or relevant authorities.
MEP Virginie Rozière, European Parliament Rapporteur for the proposed whistleblower protection directive, yesterday, received petitions with more than 280,000 signatures, gathered by coalitions of trade unions and NGOs, which she handed over to the Council of the European Union at the final scheduled trilogue in the Parliament on Monday 4 March.
Today trade unions and NGOs will deliver two petitions gathering over 280,000 signatures supporting the European Parliament’s demands for an improved directive.
In an open letter to the European Council, Commission and Parliament seven well-known European whistleblowers speak out for changing the directive and removing barriers for safe reporting.
The EU Whistleblowing Directive is an idea whose time has come. New whistleblower protection laws in Ireland, France and the Netherlands showed consensus was building among EU Member States on the need to protect and enable workers to speak up about wrongdoing in the workplace.