Art. 2 (2) - Extension of material scope beyond EU law
On top of selected crimed and administrative breaches, the Act 54/2019 covers all the crimes where the inmprisonment threshold exceeds 3 years. This provision, in the context of the Slovak Penal Code, covers variety of economic crimes and crimes against property, acts of violance and other breaches. Some of these crimes (e.g. the crime of anatocism) surely extend the material scope of the Directive.
Art. 4 (1) - Extension of personal scope (protected person)
The Act 54/2019 does not extend the scope of a protected person on top of the Directive’s definition.
It clearly stipulates that also relatives of the primarily reporting person can be granted protection (specifying the Article 4.4 (b) of the Directive), concretely those who are:
a) in working (dependent) relationship to the same employer
b) in working (dependent) relationship to a legal entity dependent on the employer of primarily reporting person
c) in working (dependent) relationship to a legal entity established and/or controlled by the employer of the primarily reporting person
Art. 6 (2) - Acceptance of anonymous reports
The Act 54/2019 instructs eligible entities to accept any report, without differentiating whether it includes identity of the reporting person or not.
On 31st October 2022, however, the established authority in Slovakia (the Slovak Office for Whistleblower Protection, further referred as “”SOfWP) issued the Methodological guideline on evidence of reports, which in its wording presumes that reports can be anonymous and defines respective obligations of the responsible entities arising therefrom.
Art. 7 (2) - Encouraging internal reporting
There are no legal mechanisms in applicable Slovak legislation that would give advantage to those using internal reporting channles rather than external ones. The Act 54/2019 applies to both internal and external reports (meaning those made to SOfWP).
Art. 8 (7) - Obligation for legal entities in the private sector with less than 50 workers
Obligations in the Act 54/2019 related to establishment of reporting channels and related procedures only apply to legal entities with 50 and more employees. This applies to private sector, as well as non-profit making organizations and companies or organizations established and/or controlled by public sector, except for public authorities – these are obliged in case they employ 5 and more persons.
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
Yes. Seeing this in the above logic of the Act 54/2019, this exception only applies to:
– public authorities (including municipalities) employing up to 4 persons (i.e. in case of municipalities, number of inhabitants is not relevant criterium)
– other entities employing up to 49 persons
Art. 8 (9) Third subparagraph - Shared internal reporting channels for municipalities
With respect to possible sharing of internal reporting channels, the Act 54/2019 (provisions § 10.2) only stipulates that reporting channels and procedures established by public authorities also cover any subordinated (established or 100% owned) entities. This provision obviously does not affect municipalities, though.
Art. 11 (1) - Authorities competent to receive external reports
Slovak republic has established (in line with provisions § 13 – 17 of the Act 54/2019) the Office for Whistleblower Protection
Provisions § 13 – 17 of the Act 54/2019 define the competences, resources of SOfWP, as well as the procedure for electing its Chairman.
Art. 11 (3) first sentence - Competence of authorities to decide on the minority of external reports
This competence is not explicitly defined. Any report must be, according § 10.5 of the Act 54/2019, verified within 90 days. This in daily practice, with respect to minor breaches, means that these will be received, analyzed and closed without other follow-up other than obligatory informing of the reporting person. Therefore, according § 10.8 of the Act 54/2019, internal procedure established by the responsible entity must also provide transparency on the verification process.
Art. 11 (4) first sentence - Competence of authorities to decide on closing procedures regarding repetitive external reports
The adopted Act 54/2019 does not elaborate on this standard at all.
On 31st October 2022, however, SOfWP issued the Methodological guideline on evidence of reports, which determinates that in case of repetitive reports, these must be registered in the evidence as repetitive reports, however still reporting person must be acknowledged about the receipt.
Further obligations only arise if the report includes new legal or factual circumstances. In that case these must be reflected in the running proceeding, or, if not possible, to open a new proceeding that will verify respective facts.
Art. 11 (5) - Competence of authorities to handle particular external reports with priority
No. From current legislative status, this standard remains unadressed, neither the Act 54/2019 not any SOfWP methodoclogical guidelines elaborate on this standard.
Art. 20 (2) - Financial assistance and support measures for reporting persons
Yes. According to the Act 54/2019, reporting persons are predominantly protected towards labor law measures that could be taken against them, also in the course of running legal proceedings (criminal or administrative).
Furthermore, according to § 13.6 g) of the Act 54/2019, SOfWP has competence to “”provide advice and consultation related to reporting breaches. This also includes, without being taxatively delimitated, provision of practical support, including psychological support. To fulfill this competence, SOfWP has the right to participate in any proceeding where the reporting person has procedural status defined by law and associated the right and/or obligation to participate in the proceeding.
In contrary, SOfWP is not allowed to provide financial assistance.
Art. 21 (1) first sentence - Protection measures against retaliation
The Act 54/2019 only provides protection against adverse work-related measures the reporting person might face in connection of the report made. In the context of how respective § 7.1 provisions are defined, this includes a variety of labor law measures, from those related to remuneration, benefits, disciplinary action up to cancelling the working relationship.
The substance of the protection then is the reversal of such measure, in case causality with the report has been proven.
Art. 23 (1) - Penalties
According § 19 of the Act 54/2019, penalty up to 20.000 EUR shall be imposed by SOfWP to legal person or an individual committing an administrative breach defined by § 18 of the Act 54/2019. Possible administrative breach represents:
1. conducting a work-related measure towards protected reporting person, without prior consent of SOfWP,
2. conducts a work-related measure towards reporting person in causality with the report made,
3. violates confidentiality about the identity of the reporting person
Penalty of 500 EUR can also be imosed by SOfWP to an individual acting on behalf of responsible persion, violating the duty to provide SOfWP necessary assistance when investigating into whether protection should be granted or not.
Possible implications according e.g. the Slovak Penal code remain untouched.
Art. 23 (2) first sentence - Penalties for false reporting
No penalties are defined by the Act 54/2019.
There are possible implications to the employee making conscious false report under the Slovak Penal Code, Civil Code and labor law.
Art. 25 (1) - Further national rights of reporting persons
There is no protection nor are rights of the reporting person are granted by the Act 54/2019, that would go beyond the scope of the Directive.