Netherlands Approves New Protections For Whistleblowers

JurisdictionEuropean Union
Law Firmlus Laboris
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Whistleblowing
AuthorMs Christine Daniels (Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten)
Published date07 March 2023

On 24 January 2023, the Senate approved the Whistleblowers Protection Act, which replaces the 2016 Whistleblowers Authority Act. On 18 February the Act partially entered into force.

The new law introduces new, more protective measures towards so-called 'whistleblowers'. Whistleblowers are (mostly) employees who make a report because they suspect wrongdoing within the organisation. Under the new law, a whistleblower is also a person who reports breaches of Union (European) law. The date that the new law will enter into force is not yet known.

Here are the most important changes in the new Whistleblowers Protection Act.

Expanding the circle of protected persons

The circle of persons who are protected against adverse fall-out will be expanded. In addition to employees and civil servants, protection will be extended to self-employed and temporary workers, for example, as well as persons who assist the reporter and handle the internal report.

Prohibition of retaliation

A whistleblower may not be disadvantaged during and after the handling of a report or disclosure of suspected wrongdoing. Under the new law, any form of adverse action will be prohibited, and the burden of proof will be shifted from the reporter to the employer. Whistleblowers who experience adverse action will no longer have to prove that they have been disadvantaged as a result of the report. Instead, the employer will have to prove that the disadvantage has nothing to do with the report.

No longer obliged to report internally first

Whistleblowers no longer have to report wrongdoing internally first. They have the option to report it directly to competent authorities, such as the Whistleblowers Authority, the Personal Data Protection Authority or the Financial Markets Authority. These authorities must also offer protection to the whistleblower when reporting wrongdoing or threatened wrongdoing.

Stricter requirements for internal reporting arrangements

Stricter requirements will apply to the employer's internal reporting procedure, such as:

  • The whistleblower must receive an acknowledgement of receipt within seven days after the report is received.
  • Within a maximum of three months after sending the confirmation of receipt, the employer must provide the reporter with information about the assessment and how the report has...

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