The legal requirements for doing business have been tightened considerably in recent years. A number of legal provisions and court rulings now have to be taken into account in “normal” commercial transactions. This does not only apply to medium-size and large companies: the demands on small firms are also increasing. In many cases, however, there is a lack of human, organisational and financial resources.
SET-UP OF WHISTLEBLOWER SYSTEM BECOMING MANDATORY
Going forward, even small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be legally obliged to have a whistleblower system in place when the company size exceeds 50 employees. A draft legislation of the Whistleblower Protection Act (Hinweisgeberschutzgesetz), which transposes the EU’s Whistleblower Directive (DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/1937 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law) into German law, is already available.
The purpose of this law is to protect individuals (whistleblower) who report statutory violations in companies or public authorities. The legal requirements for which you should make preparations at an early stage are, as of today, as follows:
- Starting from December 2021, companies with more than 250 employees and public authorities with more than 50 employees must provide an internal whistleblowing system. This also applies to communities with a population of 10,000 or more. For smaller companies with 50 to 249 employees, the requirement to establish an internal whistleblowing system will probably apply from December 2023 at the latest; possibly even earlier.
- The internal reporting channel at the whistleblowing system must be designed, set up and operated so securely that the identity of the whistleblower and of third parties mentioned in the report remains confidential.
WE TAKE CARE OF YOUR DUTIES
“BDO Compliance Assistance” enables you to fulfil this legal obligation to set up and operate an internal whistleblowing system with the standards; you also receive additional, practice-related assistance services. Thus, you can achieve a basic coverage at low cost and - at the same time - the implementation of first Compliance structures.
OUR SERVICES FOR YOU
- Setting up a whistleblowing system (compliance with legal requirements)
- Criminal defence emergency hotline (24/7)
- Money-laundering hotline if a breach is suspected (monday-friday from 9am-5pm, except public holidays)*
- IT emergency hotline**
- IT security consulting (1hr/month; max. 3 hours/year)**
- Digitalisation consulting (1hr/month; max. 3 hours/year)**
- Continuing education and training in compliance (1 training session/month)
- Secure transfer of reported information to lawyers due to the whistleblowing system: confidential handling of information, possible confirmation of the whistleblower’s anonymity
- Many years of experience as ombudspersons guarantee practical recommeded actions to clarify the incoming reports
- Our service is even available for less than the hourly rate of a lawyer per month (depending on the size of the company)
- Raising awareness and training of employees in all compliance issues with practical relevance
- Proof of compliance activities for customers and government agencies
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