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From 1 January 2020, all public and large proprietary companies must have in place a whistleblower policy which meets all mandatory statutory requirements.

Amongst other things, these laws:

  • modify existing legislation relating to corporations, the banking industry and insurance companies
  • provide significantly stronger protections to whistleblowers who make disclosures about protected matters and expand the scope of persons who may make protected disclosures
  • impose substantial civil and criminal penalties for breaches of whistleblower protections
  • mandate all public and large proprietary companies have a compliant whistleblower policy in place by 1 January 2020

A large proprietary company is one that has 2 or more of the following characteristics:

  • $50+ million in consolidated revenue
  • $25+ million or more in consolidated gross assets
  • 100 or more employees

Currently fines of up to $12,600 can apply for failing to have a compliant whistleblower policy in place by 1 January 2020, and repeat fines can also apply to every subsequent year this requirement is not met.

Action Items:

Check if a whistleblower policy is required at your workplace and, if so, ensure it meets all legal requirements including information about the protections available to whistleblowers, how and to whom protected disclosures may be made, the ways the company will protect whistleblowers from detriment, how the company will investigate protected disclosures, how the company will ensure fair treatment of other employees mentioned in protected disclosures that qualify for protection, and how the policy will be communicated and made available to employees. If you require any assistance or advice, please contact our Employment & Workplace Law Team.