Get useful tips, learn best practices and read the latest newsThe Whistlelink Blog

New whistleblower law approved in Germany – a milestone for protection of whistleblowers

New whistleblower law approved in Germany.

Download our free whitepaper:

How to get compliant with the Whistleblowing Law

The Whistleblower Protection Act can finally enter into force in Germany, after a delay of one and a half years. On 12 May 2023, the Bundesrat approved the whistleblower law which had been renegotiated in the Mediation Committee. The compromise proposal was confirmed by the Bundestag the day before, which means transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Directive is completed in Germany.

Legislative process of the whistleblower law in Germany

The transposition process in Germany has been slow but making steady progress. Since the first draft law was presented in December 2020, there have been several revisions and clarifications to the draft. Germany was also referred to the European Court of Justice by the European Commission, for failure to transpose the EU Whistleblowing Directive in time.

The draft law was then rejected in the Federal Council of the German Parliament in February, primarily due to placing a perceived, excessive burden on small and medium-sized companies. This resulted in redrafting a compromise agreement.

On 9 May 2023, the Mediation Committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat discussed the proposed law “Hinweisgeberschutzgesetz” and agreed on the compromise. The Bundestag and Bundesrat could then pass the new law only days later.

Details of the German law on the protection of whistleblowers

We’ve spoken to Carsten Schönwald, Territory Manager of Germany (DACH) at Whistlelink, for an insight into the latest details about the German Whistleblower law. Read on to learn more about the most important aspects of the law.

Scope of the German whistleblower law:

The scope of the German law includes information on criminal offences and certain administrative offences, even if no concrete criminal offence has been committed.

There is, however, no mention of compensation for immaterial damage suffered by the whistleblower, which has concerned the civil society. Furthermore, serious misconduct below the threshold of clear violations of the law has also been excluded from the material scope of application.

Some important changes:

  • Reversed burden of proof: Employers will have to prove that reprisals are not related to whistleblowing
  • Whistleblowers are free to choose between contacting a state (external) whistleblower office directly, or use the internal reporting channel supplied by the employer.
  • All employers with 50 or more employees must set up secure internal reporting channels that whistleblowers can contact confidentially.

Deadlines:

After the approval by the Federal Council, the parliamentary procedure is now complete. The law will be submitted to the President for signature, and it is estimated it will enter into force around mid-June 2023.

Employers with 250 or more employees are obliged to implement a whistleblowing system as soon as the law enters into force.

Employers with 50 to 249 employees will have an additional 6 months to set up the required internal reporting channels (until 17 December 2023).

Sanctions:

Violations of the obligations contained in the Act may be fined by up to 50,000 € for employers. Knowingly disclosing incorrect information is also punishable by fines.

Anonymous reporting:

There is no obligation to provide for anonymous reports, neither for internal nor for external reporting offices. The law does, however, stipulate that reporting channels should also process any incoming, anonymous report.

Other important details about the whistleblower law in Germany:

The federal government aims to create an external reporting channel at the Federal Office of Justice. Individual states may also set up their own offices for external reporting.

Whistlelink has delivered whistleblowing solutions to satisfied customers for more than 10 years. Our whistleblower service is available on your own website 24/7.

We offer 35+ languages ​​in a customized, user-friendly digital whistleblower solution where all data is stored on servers within Europe, in accordance with GDPR. Start your free trial today!

If you have any thoughts about this article or would like to know more about Whistlelink, we’d love to hear from you.

Are you looking for a safe and secure whistleblowing solution for your organisation?Please book a free demo of our system in the calendar below!

Talk with Territory Manager
Annelie Demred

0046 (0)706 83 82 88

WEBINARThe Whistleblowing Law

Annelie DemredVP, Strategy and Growth

Are you up to date?

Wednesday   |   11:00 – 11:30

WHISTLELINK BLOGWhat to read next...​

Taking Action: Addressing suspected fraud when internal reports are ignored
Ensuring data protection in Whistleblowing Systems: A lesson learned from Bologna Airport
A new Polish draft law has officially introduced "the whistleblower"
Whistlelink resources

Download the Whitepaper

Nice to meet you!

Get in touch

Our team would like to offer you a free demo of Whistlelink.
Please select a suitable time in our calendar.

Talk with Territory Manager
Annelie Demred

0046 (0)706 83 82 88

HAPPY TO MEET YOU!

Get in touch

Our team is ready to answer your questions. Find the answer by visiting our support centre, or fill out the form below and we'll be in touch as soon as possible. Or simply give us a call!

Talk with Territory Manager
Annelie Demred

0046 (0)706 83 82 88

HAPPY TO MEET YOU!

Get in touch

Our team is ready to answer your questions. Find the answer by visiting our support centre, or fill out the form below and we'll be in touch as soon as possible. Or simply give us a call!

Talk with Territory Manager
Annelie Demred

0046 (0)706 83 82 88