Art. 2 (2) - Extension of material scope beyond EU law
As per article 31 of the Law 6(I)/2022 the scope of protection has been extended to national law. The fields covered are (a) acts or omissions related to the commission or possible commission of a criminal offence and in particular corruption offences; (b) acts or omissions related to a person’s failure to comply with any legal obligation imposed on him/her; (c) violations which endanger or are likely to endanger the safety or health of any person; (d) violations which cause or are likely to cause damage to the environment.
Art. 4 (1) - Extension of personal scope (protected person)
There is no extension.
Art. 6 (2) - Acceptance of anonymous reports
Art. 7 (2) - Encouraging internal reporting
There are nο incentives to encourage internal reporting before external reporting.
Art. 8 (7) - Obligation for legal entities in the private sector with less than 50 workers
Article 10 of the national act provides for the “Voluntary establishment of reporting channels”. According to article 10 “(1) Legal entities in the private sector which are not required to establish internal reporting channels and procedures, by virtue of the provisions of Article 8 [see Article 8 of the Directive], are encouraged to designate appropriate persons or services according to their capabilities and structure, to receive and follow up on reports: It is provided that, in the event that a legal entity of the private sector designates a person or service as provided for in this article, the provisions of article 9 [see article 9 of the Directive]shall apply mutatis mutandis. (2) Persons or services designated to receive and follow up on reports in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1) may be compliance officers, professional integrity officers, legal officers, financial directors, chief auditors, board members.”
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
According to article 8(2)(a) of the national act “the provisions of paragraph (1) do not apply to municipalities with fewer than five thousand (5,000) inhabitants, or fewer than twenty-five (25) employers”.
Art. 8 (9) Third subparagraph - Shared internal reporting channels for municipalities
Whereas the national act does not explicitly refer to shared internal reporting channels between municipalities, article 8(2)(a) of the national act provides that legal entities of the public sector can use the internal reporting channels established pursuant to the decisions of the Council of Ministers with no. 75.841 and dated 10.7.2013 and no. 76025 and dated 6.11.2013 or pursuant to the provisions of any other legislation (https://mcw.gov.cy/mcw/doc/doc.nsf/doc01_gr/doc01_gr?OpenDocument and https://mof.gov.cy/en/directorates-units/control-unit)
Art. 11 (1) - Authorities competent to receive external reports
The complaints shall be filed with the competent authority on a case-by-case basis. According to the national act, the competent authority to receive external reports is the authority, service, organisation, minister, deputy minister, department, council, registrar or commissioner who under EU or national law receives reports within the framework of its responsibilities or has under its responsibility the supervision and/or investigation of acts falling within the scope of this act, as well as any other authority, service, organisation designated as such by a decree of the Council of Ministers. It shall be noted that the Law 19(I)/2022 has been enacted which provides for the establishment and operation of the National Anti-corruption Authority (in greek: Αρχή κατά της Διαφθοράς). The implementing regulations on the establishment and operation of the National Anti-corruption Authority are expected to be passed by the Parliament before the end of 2022. The National Anti-corruption Authority will play a vital role in the achievement of the objectives of the Whistleblower Directive and the act transposing it into the national law.
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
Pursuant to article 21 of the national act support measures for reporting persons include “(a) Easy and free public access to full and independent information and advice regarding the procedures and remedies available for protection against retaliation and their rights: The requirement for such access is satisfied by the preparation by the legal entities of the private and public sector and the competent authorities of a document which includes necessary information, advice and means of legal protection and which is available by the appropriate means to any interested person; (b) effective assistance before any authority involved in their protection against retaliation; (c) legal aid in criminal cases and in cross-border proceedings in civil cases in accordance with the Law on Legal Aid (165(Ι)/2002).”
Art. 21 (1) first sentence - Protection measures against retaliation
Pursuant to article 23 of the national act reporting persons (a) shall not be considered to have breached any restriction on disclosure of information and shall not incur liability of any kind in respect of such a report or public disclosure provided that they had reasonable grounds to believe that the reporting or public disclosure of such information was necessary for revealing a breach; (b) shall not incur liability in respect of the acquisition of or access to the information which is reported or publicly disclosed, provided that such acquisition or access did not constitute a self-standing criminal offence; (c) shall have access to remedial measures against retaliation as appropriate, including interim relief pending the resolution of legal proceeding; (d) shall not incur liability of any kind as a result of reports or public disclosures in legal proceedings, including for defamation, breach of copyright, breach of secrecy, breach of data protection rules, disclosure of trade secrets or for compensation claims based on private, public or on collective labour law; (e) are entitled to remedies and full compensation for damage suffered by them.
Art. 23 (1) - Penalties
Please provide how high are respective penalties:
(a) hinder or attempt to hinder reporting: Imprisonment not exceeding three (3) years or a fine not exceeding thirty thousand Euro (€30,000) or both.
(b) retaliate against reporting person: Imprisonment not exceeding three (3) years or a fine not exceeding thirty thousand Euro (€30,000) or both.
(c) persons bringing vexatious proceedings against reporting person: Imprisonment not exceeding three (3) years or a fine not exceeding thirty thousand Euro (€30,000) or both.
(d) breach the duty of maintaining the confidentiality of reporting persons: Imprisonment not exceeding three (3) years or a fine not exceeding thirty thousand Euro (€30,000) or both.
Art. 23 (2) first sentence - Penalties for false reporting
A person who knowingly reported or publicly disclosed false information commits a criminal offense and, upon conviction, is subject to imprisonment not exceeding three (3) years or a fine not exceeding thirty thousand Euro (€30,000) or both penalties.
Art. 25 (1) - Further national rights of reporting persons
(a) Pursuant to article 22 of the national act a reporting person who participates as a witness in any criminal proceeding related to the reported case, is considered a witness in need of assistance, according to the Law on the Protection of Witnesses (95(I)/2001) and, depending on the case, all or any of the measures provided for in the said Law are applied. Depending on the discretion of the Attorney General of the Republic, such a person may be also included in the Scheme for the Protection of Witnesses and Collaborators of Justice, in which case the respective provisions of the Law on the Protection of Witnesses apply.
(b) A person who considers that he/she is affected by a violation of the provisions of the national act may assert his/her rights before a competent court (even if the relationship in which the violation is alleged to have occurred has ended) and may use any appropriate and legal means to establish the violation and any kind of damage suffered as a result thereof. In any judicial proceedings, other than criminal, if the party who claims to be aggrieved by a violation of the provisions of the national law presents facts from which it derives that the violation is probable, the burden of proof that there has been no violation of the provisions of the national act shall lie with the opposing party.
(c) The dismissal of a reporting person, as well as any detrimental change in the conditions of his/her employment or any measure of retaliation, is absolutely null and void, unless the employer proves that the dismissal or detrimental change is due to a reason unrelated to his/her reporting. In addition, it is also provided that in case of dismissal of the reporting person, the Labour Disputes Court, in addition to awarding compensation and without examining the good or bad faith of the employer, orders the re-employment of the employee and obliges the employer to accepts his/her services, as long as the employee has requested it as a remedy.
(d) Every employer shall protect a reporting employee from any act of their supervisor or any other employee which constitutes retaliation. In case he/she becomes aware of specific retaliation measures, he/she shall take all measures to stop them otherwise he/she is considered an accomplice of the person who committed the retaliation act(s).
A point worth mentioning is that the national act provides for voluntary establishment of reporting channels. It is, namely, provided that legal entities in the private sector which are not required to establish internal reporting channels and procedures under the provisions of the national act are, nevertheless, encouraged to designate appropriate persons or services in accordance with their capabilities and structure to receive and monitor reports. Designated persons or services suitable to receive and monitor reports may be compliance officers, professional integrity officers, legal officers, financial managers, chief auditors or board members.