Decision from the Government – requirement for authorities to have external whistleblowing functions

March 17, 2022 Employment and Benefits

On 17 December 2021, the new Whistleblower Act entered into force. The Act requires businesses and authorities to set up and manage so-called internal and external reporting channels.

One of the aims with the new legislation is to facilitate warnings about wrongdoing. The Government has now decided which authorities that will be responsible for external whistleblowing functions. Internal reporting channels are - as before - for employees to report wrongdoing to their employer, while anyone can report a matter (relating to the authority's area of responsibility) in an external reporting channel.

The new Whistleblowing Act includes an obligation for all companies that are obliged to have internal reporting channels to provide clear and easily accessible information on both how the internal channel works and how to report to the authority through external reporting channels. Therefore, it is important to know which authority is responsible for the sector in which you operate.

The designated authorities have an area of responsibility and they must receive, follow-up and provide feedback of wrongdoing through the external reporting channels. The designated authorities include the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, the Swedish Economic Crime Authority, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, the Public Health Agency of Sweden, the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection, the Health and Social Care Inspectorate, the Swedish Consumer Agency, the Swedish Competition Authority, the Swedish Food Agency, the Swedish Medical Products Agency, the County Administrative Boards, the Government Offices of Sweden, the Swedish Tax Agency and the Swedish Transport Agency. The full list of responsible authorities can be found in the Decree on the Protection of Persons Reporting Wrongdoing) (Sw. Förordning om skydd för personer som rapporterar om missförhållanden (SFS 2021:949)).

The Government has also decided to appoint the Swedish Work Environment Authority as a particular competent authority. This means, among other things, that the Swedish Work Environment Authority will be responsible for receiving reports of wrongdoing from companies that do not fall within the area of any other authority’s responsibility. The Swedish Work Environment Authority is also responsible to ensure that employers comply with the legal requirements under the Whistleblowing Act, which includes the establishment of an internal whistleblowing function.

In this context, it is worth mentioning that although the new Whistleblowing Act has already entered into force, companies with more than 249 employees have been given until 17 July 2022 to establish internal whistleblowing channels. Companies with between 50 and 249 employees have been given until 17 December 2023 to do so.