Sweden - Transposition of the EU Directive on Whistleblowing
Public consultation on Sweden’s draft law to implement the EU Directive on whistleblowing has ended. The Ministry of Labour has published the responses from a broad range of stakeholders who responded to consultation. Civil society groups have raised concerns that the proposal would create too much complexity in the legal framework to protect whistleblowers.
The Inquiry on the Swedish transposition of the Directive which has been working since 29 May 2019 on 29 June 2020 delivered its 802 pages long report containing a proposal for a new Act on reporting of wrongdoings, intended to replace the existing Whistleblowing Act which has been in force since 2017, as well as an additional law change and a few new or amended provisions.
It is proposed that the law also shall apply to breaches abroad. For reporting channels, it is proposed that under certain conditions it shall be allowed to set up a single channel for companies with activities in several countries. If the company in Sweden employs more than 249 persons there must be a dedicated channel in Sweden.
Noteworthy is also a horizontal application not limited to the areas covered by the directive, including both private and public sector, and public interest reporting, that consultation with trade union grants protection and that collective agreements may replace the design of the reporting channel provided that the rights of the reporting persons lives up to the Directive. The Inquiry also proposes governmental grants to be put in place for trade unions and non-governmental organisations to give advice and provide information.
A few issues are not resolved in the proposal. Recital 32 states that “persons should be entitled to protection under this Directive if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the information reported falls within its scope.” This is left out of the proposal.
The law changes’ proposed date for entry into force is 1 December 2021. A consultation process will now follow where relevant consultation bodies, including for example government agencies and non-governmental organisations can comment on the report. The Government drafts a new proposal which is submitted to Parliament (and its committee on the topic) for consideration, debate, amendments and a final vote.
The summary of the inquiry in English can be found in pages 33-40.
The Exploratory Committee that was due to deliver its final report before 29 May 2020 has been granted an extension. The new last day to deliver the report to the Swedish Government is 30 June 2020.
Sweden has announced that a Special Investigator has been assigned to propose how the European Parliament and Council directives on the protection of persons reporting violations of Union law (the whistleblower directive) should be implemented in Swedish law. Please see here for the PDF. The assignment must be reported no later than May 29, 2020.