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
On 12 May 2023, the Federal Council finally passed the Whistleblower Protection Act („HinSchG“) after a lengthy legislative process. After published in the Federal Law Gazette, the Act will enter into force on 2 July 2023. The basis of the HinSchG is the EU Directive of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report infringements of Union law.
With the new legal challenge, not only private employers, but also public employers are affected by its effects. In addition to authorities and administrative bodies at federal, state and municipal level, these are public associations, municipalities, municipal management companies, institutions and foundations under public law, courts and other bodies.
The Whistleblower Protection Act shall protect individuals 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:
- Private employers with more than 250 employees and public employers with more than 50 employees must provide an internal whistleblowing system. This also applies to municipalities with at least 10,000 inhabitants. For smaller companies between 50 and 249 employees, this obligation will apply from 17.12.2023.
- The internal reporting channel 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 the legal obligation to set up and maintain a whistleblowing system in accordance to the future Whistleblower Protection Act and in compliance with the standards.
Thereby, our web-based BDO Legal whistleblower portal ensures worldwide accessibility in all languages.
In addition, our service provides you with further practice-related assistance services.
OUR SERVICES FOR YOU
- Setting up a whistleblowing system incl. web-based BDO Legal whistleblower portal
- 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: 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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