Upon commencement, all private sector organisations with 250 or more employees are required to establish formal reporting channels and procedures for workers to make protected disclosures. The threshold does not apply to employers who are public bodies or who fall within the scope of the certain European Union legislation, including in relation to financial services, products, markets, prevention of money-laundering and terrorist financing, transport safety, and protection of the environment. Such employers, regardless of size, must also comply with the obligations contained in the Act from 1 January 2023.

The new Office of the Protected Disclosures Commissioner will also commence operations on 1 January 2023. The Ombudsman and Information Commissioner, Ger Deering, will be the first Protected Disclosures Commissioner. In setting the commencement date of 1 January 2023, the Minister has said he is giving employers and the new Commissioner sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements to ensure compliance with the Act.

Employers should review existing protected disclosures policies to ensure they are fully up to date and in compliance with the new legislation.

Failure to comply with certain obligations contained in the Act are designated as offences which attract significant penalties. For further information on the Act, see our detailed briefing here.