Further changes in Slovak labour law as of 1 March 2019!
After almost five years, the Whistleblowing Act has been amended to respond to problems of practical application in this area. What news does it bring for employers?
Extension of employee protection in whistleblowing
The Act makes labour law protection of employees and their associates in whistleblowing more profound and effective. The definition of antisocial activity is extended to include certain offences committed by legal entities, or administrative offences for which a sanction of at least EUR 30,000 (previously EUR 50,000) may be imposed. An associate of a whistleblower who is granted the same employment protection as the whistleblower will now not only be someone who works for the same employer as the whistleblower but also, for example, for an employer within the group.
New supervisory authority
An independent authority for the protection of whistleblowers (“Office”) will be established to take over the original tasks of the Labour Inspectorate and decide on protection of whistleblowers. The Office will also monitor enforcement of the new law, provide advice and consultations, issue methodological guidelines, or organize practical professional preparation of responsible persons.
Duties of employers
- Employers who wish to dismiss a protected whistleblower, e.g. due to redundancy or a violation of work discipline, will only be able to do so after approval from the Office, which will only agree if the employer can prove that the proposed employment measure is not related to whistleblowing.
- The new law also extends the provisions on the responsible person and their duties. This person must meet the professional requirements for exercising their function. The law does not provide any further details, so it is up to the employer to choose a suitable person for this position.
- Employers with more than 50 employees must update their internal whistleblowing guidelines by the end of September 2019. Failure to do so could result in sanctions of up to EUR 20,000.