April 12, 2022
Portugal was the third country to implement the EU Whistleblowing Directive 2019/1937 and the national Whistleblowing Protection Act (Law No. 93/2021) comes into force on June 18 of 2022. As of this date, all companies with 50 or more employees will be required to provide an internal whistleblower channel or risk paying up to €125,000 in fines for failure to comply with the law.
With that in mind, we have listed 4 things that Portuguese companies have to do to comply with the new whistleblowing law. These are:
- Establish an effective whistleblowing channel
- Guarantee the confidentiality of the whistleblower
- Give feedback & communicate with whistleblower
- Keep a record of complaints received and maintain them
Let’s dive deeper:
1. Establish an effective whistleblowing channel
The creation of an internal whistleblowing channel is mandatory. It must be secure and ensure the integrity and preservation of the report, as well as the confidentiality of the identity of the whistleblowers. For example with a reporting channel in the form of email, both documentation and confidentiality can become difficult and time-consuming and many thus prefer different kinds of web-based solutions, although this is not necessarily a legal requirement.
2. Guarantee the confidentiality of the whistleblower
The goal of the law is to protect whistleblowers and prevent them from suffering any retaliation for pointing out irregularities. For this, companies must have an efficient system to receive confidential information and keep it restricted to the people responsible for monitoring the reports.
READ ALSO: Anonymous reporting in whistleblowing
3. Give feedback & communicate with whistleblower
After receiving the internal report, companies must notify the whistleblower within 7 days confirming that they have received it. Next, companies should give feedback to the whistleblower on what actions will be taken. This must happen within 3 months, so the company must have a secure and organized system in place that allows communications to be exchanged within the correct time frame and that maintains the confidentiality of the matter and the confidentiality of the whistleblower, even when communicating with them.
READ ALSO: How to investigate whistleblower reports in the best way
4. Keep a record of complaints received and maintain them
The law states that records and documents of complaints must be kept on file for at least 5 years. To do this, companies must have an effective archiving system that protects data and maintains confidentiality over time. Even after the case is closed, the whistleblower’s identity should remain strictly confidential.
READ ALSO: Full deep-dive into the Portuguese Whistleblowing Law
Now, how do we comply with the law?
Visslan has a complete platform with all the tools your company needs to comply with the requirements of the Portuguese Whistleblower Protection Act, in a simple and cost-efficient way. Learn more about our plans and services here on our website, or contact us for a free consultation.