Date posted: 13/12/2019 3 min read

Companies must have whistleblower policies in place by 1 January 2020

ASIC has released guidance to assist companies meet their obligation to have a whistleblower policy.

In Brief

  • Small not-for-profit and charitable companies have been granted relief form the requirement to have a whistleblower policy
  • All companies are bound by the whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act from 1 July 2019
  • In order to be effective policies, should be backed up by a ‘culture of care’

From 1 July 2019, all companies are bound by the whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act, regardless of whether they are required to have a whistleblower policy.

An effective policy must be backed up by a culture of care.

In Australia, public companies, large proprietary companies, and proprietary companies that are trustees of registrable superannuation entities must have a whistleblower policy available to their officers and employees from 1 January 2020. ASIC has granted relief to public companies that are not-for-profits or charities with annual revenue of less than $1 million from the requirement to have a whistleblower policy.

A whistleblower policy must include:

  • Who can make and receive a disclosure
  • How to make a disclosure
  • Legal and practical protection for disclosers
  • Investigating a disclosure
  • Ensuring fair treatment of individuals mentioned in a disclosure
  • Information about how the policy is made available

Regulatory Guide 270 Whistleblower policies (RG 270) released by ASIC provides guidance to assist companies develop and implement policies that are tailored to their operations.

Regulatory Guide 270

Find out more about Regulatory Guide 270 Whistleblower policies on ASIC’s website.

Find out more

A team of Australian and New Zealand researchers recently produced a practical guide to the new legislation. The guide, the output of a three-year study into whistleblowing in the two countries, works as a practical companion to new regulatory requirements by providing formal guidance and standards for whistleblowing policies and programs.

Whistleblowing is a vital pillar in the integrity, governance and compliance systems of every organisation and institution across society as a whole. The guide aims to provide readers with clear steps to follow at a practical and policy level to ensure the positive role of whistleblowing is achieved in their organisations.

The guide, Clean as a Whistle – a five step guide to better whistleblowing policy and practice in business and government, can be downloaded

Clean as a Whistle

A five step guide to better whistleblowing policy and practice in business and government

Download here