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
According to the EU Whistleblowing Directive, 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.
In December 2022, the Bundestag has now passed the draft of the Whistleblower Protection Act, which was submitted by the Federal Minister of Justice and adopted by the Federal Cabinet in July 2022 and which is intended to transpose the EU Whistleblowing Directive into German law. Although the - binding - transposition of the Directive into the German Whistleblower Protection Act recently failed to gain the necessary majority in the Bundesrat, the Act will nevertheless enter into force in the foreseeable future.
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:
- Companies with more than 250 employees and public authorities with more than 50 employees must then 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, this requirement will probably apply from December 2023 at the latest; possibly even earlier.
- 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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