New legislation to strengthen protection for whistleblowers will come into effect next year.
Michael McGrath (Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform) has signed the commencement order for the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022, setting 1 January 2023 as the starting date for the act.
From that date, private-sector employers with 250 or more employees will have to set up formal channels for workers to report concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace.
In addition, all public bodies will be required to overhaul their protected-disclosures procedures to comply with the act by the commencement date.
A new Office of the Protected Disclosures Commissioner will also begin operations on 1 January 2023. As provided under the act, the Ombudsman Ger Deering will be the first commissioner.
Derogation for smaller employers
Minister McGrath said that the act gives greater certainty to workers reporting wrongdoing that the information they disclose will be properly followed up.
The new legislation amends the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, and expands its scope to include protections for volunteers, shareholders, board members, and job applicants for the first time.
A derogation is in place for employers with between 50 and 249 employees, who will not be required to establish reporting channels until 17 December 2023.
Ireland had been facing infringement procedures from the European Commission after missing a 2021 deadline for transposing an EU directive on the issue into national law.