Sweden: New Whistleblowing Act strengthens the Position of Persons Reporting on Workplace Irregularities
A new Whistleblowing Act was passed by the Swedish Parliament and is set to enter into force on 17 December 2021. In line with the current Whistleblowing Act, the new legislation will aim to protect reporting persons from reprisals in form of, for example, termination or relocation when they in a work-related context report irregularities in the employer´s activities.
The new Whistleblowing Act will entail stronger protection for whistleblower’s and will extend its protection to concern not only employees, but also additional individuals engaged in the employer’s business, for example jobseekers, consultants, and board members. Furthermore, the whistleblower is given a more far-reaching protection as the protection covers the time before the whistleblower commenced the engagement in the business and the time after the whistleblower has left the business. The Act also entails clearer requirements on how reported information should be handled.
The new Whistleblower Act also entails that companies with 50 or more employees must implement internal procedures for reporting of irregularities. The procedures must be available to everyone who is engaged in the employer’s business. No technical requirements have been set for the design of the internal whistleblower procedure, but it shall be user-friendly, ensure confidential treatment of the whistleblower’s identity and shall enable both written and oral reporting. For private employers with 50 to 249 employees, the internal whistleblower procedure must be in place not later than 17 December 2023. For private employers with more than 249 employees and for public employers, the whistleblower procedure must be in place not later than 17 July 2022.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
If your company employs 50 or more employees, you should implement an internal procedure for reporting of irregularities.