Whistleblowing rules to be extended right before EU deadline

Malta to transpose European Union directive on extended whistleblower protection

File Photo
File Photo

Justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis will move new amendments to the Whistleblowers Act next week, in a bid to end Malta’s status as a laggard on transposing the EU Directive on whistleblowing.

The Labour government introduced Malta’s first Whistleblowers Act in 2013, but it now has until 17 December 2021 to fully transpose a wider European directive to protect those who report wrongdoing inside private and public workplaces and offices.

The amendments will extend legal protection to those who report occupational fraud, bribery and corruption in private workplaces, as well as for self-employed, freelance occupations, or even during recruitment situations.

Large organisations are also expected to have suitable structures that facilitate internal and external reporting by whistleblowers.

The EU Directive sets out the requirements for EU members state regulations in relation to the protection of whistleblowers and disclosures.

The Directive deals with the conditions for protection of whistleblowers; internal, external and public disclosure reporting procedures; establishment of competent authorities to receive, give feedback and follow up on reports; and penalties imposed on individuals who either hinder or retaliate against the whistleblowers.

The law will cover not just the public sector and local councils, but also legal entities in the private sector with more than 50 workers.

Currently, in Malta, the Whistleblowers Act applies to government ministries, private companies with over 250 employees together with an annual turnover of over €50 million, and NGOs which raise over €500,000 from public collections and other donations.

Based on a recent study conducted by Transparency International, 56% of Maltese residents believe corruption cannot be reported without fear of retaliation.