THE PROTECTED DISCLOSURES (AMENDMENT) BILL 2022*
The Bill will give key amendments to enhance the strength of the 2014 Act.
The amendments will include:
The definition of worker will be extended to cover a new cohort of individuals to include
- Job Applicants
- Part Time Interns
- Board Members
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof will be reversed and now it will fall on the employer to provide that any alleged act of Penalisation did not occur due to the fact an individual made a Protected Disclosure.
Office of the Protected Disclosures Commissioner
A Protected Disclosures Office will be established. This will be of assistance in that one of the key functions of the office will be to assist in determining who the appropriate body is to make a disclosure to, where it is unclear.
Extension of Obligations
Private Sector organisation with 50 or more employees are obliged to establish formal channels and procedures for their employees to make Protected Disclosures. Public Sector organisations will be unaffected as they were already obliged to have procedures in place, regardless of their size, stemming from the 2014 Act.
There will be strict timeframes put in place to ensure Protected Disclosures are dealt with without undue delay by prescribed persons.
The obligation under the Act will include:
- Acknowledgement of receipt of a Protected Disclosure within 7 days
- In addition, to provide feedback to the reporting person on the actions taken or envisioned will be taken, as a follow up within 3 months.
*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.
*In contentious cases a solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a proportion or percentage of any award or settlement.