Legally compliant whistleblowing in your company - country update in Austria

Austria should also have implemented the EU Whistleblowing Directive by 17 December 2021. Delayed, the appropriate national legal provisions now went into force with the Whistleblower Protection Act ("HSchG").

According to the HSchG, a transitional period of six months from the entry into force of this federal law and thus until 25 August 2023 applies to the establishment of internal and external reporting channels.

The provisions of the HSchG concerning internal reporting channels of companies with 50 to 250 employees will not enter into force until 17 December 2023.

Essentially, companies must now enable written or oral reporting by employees. This applies in any case to the areas listed in the law (public procurement, financial services, financial products and financial markets as well as the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, product safety and conformity, transport safety, environmental protection, radiation protection and nuclear safety, food and feed safety, animal health and animal welfare, public health, consumer protection, protection of privacy and personal data as well as security of network and information systems, prevention and punishment of certain criminal offences, especially abuse of authority, bribery, etc).

All reports must be confirmed no later than seven days after receipt. The identity of the whistleblower must be protected by the company. For this purpose, appropriate processes must be set up in the company and the necessary conditions must be created.

Violations of the mandatory provisions of the HSchG may result in administrative fines of up to EUR 20,000.

We will be happy to support you in the implementation of the appropriate requirements for compliance with the legal provisions.

Autor: Lukas Urban