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Kaliňák presents law to protect whistleblowers

INTERIOR Minister Robert Kaliňák has introduced a new law to protect whistleblowers. The bill is broader than previous proposals since it does not pertain only to corruption, but also suggests a financial reward for people who report corrupt behaviour.

INTERIOR Minister Robert Kaliňák has introduced a new law to protect whistleblowers. The bill is broader than previous proposals since it does not pertain only to corruption, but also suggests a financial reward for people who report corrupt behaviour.

“We consulted with Transparency International over this law,” Kaliňák said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We had to fundamentally extend what we want to protect and how we want to protect such reports.”

The new law, among other things, defines antisocial activities as applied to certain offenses by public officials, corruption, detrimental to the EU financial interests, as well as crimes resulting in the lower limit of three years' imprisonment and for administrative offenses that can be fined with up to €50,000, TASR reported.

The whistleblower, after reporting about antisocial activities, will be entitled to ask for protection. The court or prosecutor will subsequently issue a decision after evaluating whether the reported facts are relevant and important. If granted protection, the whistleblower will be under the supervision of the labour inspectorate, which would have to agree with any change in employer-employee relations proposed by whistleblower’s employers. The measure is to prevent whistleblowers from being punished with salary cuts or termination notices, as reported by the SITA newswire.

The law should also prevent the possible abuse of the protection by employees who would attempt to use it to avoid punishment for personal failure at work, Kaliňák said, as reported by SITA.

In addition to this, every public body employing more than 50 people will have to establish their own internal system of dealing with reports of corruption. The law also proposes rewards for whistleblowers, whose upper limit is set to 50 times the minimum wage, SITA wrote.

According to Pavel Nechala from Transparency International, such rewards are commonly used abroad. The most effective system was implemented in the US during the Civil War in 19th century, he added, as reported by the Sme daily.

If cleared by parliament, the law would come into force in November.

Source: TASR, SITA, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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