At a glance
- The new Whistleblowing Protection Act came into force on 2 July 2023.
The new Whistleblowing Protection Act (Hinweisgeberschutgesetz) has introduced, for the first time, a statutory whistleblower protection system in Germany. The Act, in implementing the EU Whistleblower Directive, aims to develop a standard and comprehensive protection for whistleblowers.
Companies with at least 50 employees are required to set up an internal reporting channel. Companies with at least 250 employees must do so immediately as the obligations came into force on 2 July 2023. For companies with 50-249 employees, the law provides for a delayed implementation period of until 17 December 2023.
Although there is a delayed implementation period, it is recommended that companies take action now due to the complexities of the legislative requirements. Where a works council exists in a company, the works council has to be involved when designing the reporting system.
Companies may also outsource an internal reporting office to external third parties, such as law firms. It is important to note that the obligation to address and manage any malpractices remains with the company concerned.
A failure to set up an internal reporting office, in breach of the obligations, constitutes an administrative offence for which a fine of up to EUR 20,000 may be imposed.
For further information on the Whistleblowing Protection Act, please view our guide for Germany here.