Art. 2 (2) - Extension of material scope beyond EU law
Yes, additionally tax and social fraud are included in the material scope.
Art. 4 (1) - Extension of personal scope (protected person)
There is no extension.
Art. 6 (2) - Acceptance of anonymous reports
In the private sector, the Belgian legislator decided to oblige follow-up of anonymous reporting for companies with +249 employees. Follow-up of anonymous reporting remains optional for smaller companies (+49 employees).
Art. 7 (2) - Encouraging internal reporting
No specific incentives and/or mechanismes have been introduced to promote internal reporting (other than already in general mentioned in the directive).
Art. 8 (7) - Obligation for legal entities in the private sector with less than 50 workers
Yes. Beside some very specific whistleblower-mechanismes that already were implemented, as a general rule the financial sector is obliged to implement internal whistleblower platforms and procedures regardless of the amount of employees working within an organisation of this financial sector.
Art. 8 (9) second subparagraph - Exemption for municipalities with fewer than 10.000 inhabitants / fewer than 50 workers / other entities with fewer than 50 workers
Art. 8 (9) Third subparagraph - Shared internal reporting channels for municipalities
Art. 11 (1) - Authorities competent to receive external reports
In general, the authorities competent to receive external reports in the private sector will be appointed by (future) royal decrees. The federal Ombudsman (https://www.federaalombudsman.be/en) will serve as default in case no specific authority has or will be appointed.
Art. 11 (3) first sentence - Competence of authorities to decide on the minority of external reports
Art. 11 (4) first sentence - Competence of authorities to decide on closing procedures regarding repetitive external reports
Art. 11 (5) - Competence of authorities to handle particular external reports with priority
Art. 20 (2) - Financial assistance and support measures for reporting persons
The Federal Institute for the protection and promotion of Human Rights will act as SPOC for (future) whistleblowers in the private sector. On a strictly financial level, no specific support is provided other than the general pro deo-support already available in Belgium (legal assistance (partially) free for legal subject based on income-levels).
Art. 21 (1) first sentence - Protection measures against retaliation
(1) Criminalisation of all acts related to retaliation (punishable with imprisonment (6 months to 3 years and/or fine of 600 to 6K EUR (to be be multiplied with a factor 8 for indexation)). Staff-members can (beside potential liability for employer/legal entity itself) personally be held criminally liable. (2) Burden of proof (no link between measures taken towards whistleblower and report) lies with employer in case of measures taken towards whistleblower that can prove he reported issue. (3) Contractual and extra-contractual compensation mechanismes for whistleblower. (4) Summary judgement proceedings possible for whistleblower subject to retaliation.
Art. 23 (1) - Penalties
Art. 23 (2) first sentence - Penalties for false reporting
Belgian criminal law system already knew ‘slander and defamation’ as criminally punishable offences. Insofar as necessary, the transpostion act comfirms that knowingly reporting false information may qualify as such.
Art. 25 (1) - Further national rights of reporting persons
There are no specific rights for reporting persons.
Overall, the Belgian legislation is rather in line with the directive. One should take intro account that elements of the material scope as described in the directive are the exclusive competence areas for regional legislators (e.g. animal health). So although we (in the very nearby future) will have a general transposition for the private sector entered into force, most likely further transpostion legislation will be needed from regional legislators (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia, Ostbelgien).