Companies are advised to prepare for the introduction of a whistleblowing scheme.
The Belgian legislator has opted for separate regimes in the private and public sectors.
Companies in the private sector need to introduce an internal channel for reporting breaches in a number of specific areas (e.g. public tender law, competition law, data protection law, social and tax fraud). Companies with more than 250 workers will need to have their internal channel ready by 15 February 2023. Companies employing between 50 and 249 workers have a bit more time until 17 December 2023. The majority of companies employing less than 50 workers (except for the financial sector) are not legally obliged to introduce an internal whistleblowing channel. Companies will be able to introduce an internal reporting channel on a voluntary basis, however. We expect that this will soon be considered best practice.
The legislation for the public sector is scattered over many levels, with separate acts for inter alia the federal level, the Flemish level, the Walloon Region and the Brussels Capital Region. The public sector whistleblowing legislation differs from the private sector legislation on important points. For example, federal public sector bodies must introduce internal reporting channels for integrity breaches. The scope of application, the conditions for protective measures and the entry into force need to be checked carefully for each level. The Act of 8 December 2022 for the federal public sector has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 23 December 2022 and will enter into force 10 days after its publication, i.e. on 2 January 2023.
Inform yourself about the possible providers of a whistleblowing solution and prepare a policy for your company. Inform your employees and train your reporting managers.
We have a multidisciplinary team ready to assist you. We can advise and assist you in introducing a whistleblowing scheme in your company. We provide training for reporting managers. In the event of a report, we can advise your reporting manager on the appropriate approach to safeguard the interests of your company.