New Protections for Whistleblowers

The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act, 2022 took effect from January 1st 2023 expanding the obligations of employers with respect to whistle blower protections.

Some of the key changes to note are:

  • Scope of protection widened by extending the definition of “worker” to include:
    • board members (including non-executive members),
    • shareholders
    • trainees
    • job applicants
    • volunteers
  • Definition of ‘relevant wrongdoing’ extended to include a ‘breach’ – an act or omission that is unlawful relating to, financial services, anti-money, laundering, and terrorist financing, public health and consumer protection.
  • Employers with > 50 < 250 employees are required to establish internal reporting channels by 17th Dec 2023.
  • 250+ employees must have internal reporting channels from 1st January 2023.
  • All public bodies will be required to comply with protected-disclosures procedures by 1st January 2023.
  • Those who receive a Protected Disclosure must –
    • Acknowledge receipt of the protected disclosure within 7 days,
    • Diligently follow up on the information contained in the protected disclosure,
    • Provide feedback to the reporting person on the actions taken or envisaged to be taken as follow-up within three months following an initial assessment,
    • Communicate to the whistleblower the outcome of investigations triggered by the protected disclosure.
  • A broader definition of penalisation, direct or indirect i.e., suspension, withholding promotion, negative performance rating.
  • No obligation to accept and follow up on anonymous reports.
  • Burden of Proof – Employers must show clear and convincing evidence that they would have taken any decision for independent, legitimate reasons in the absence of a protected report or disclosure.
  • Offences – failing to operate internal reporting channels, penalisation etc. fines €75,000- €250,000 and/ or imprisonment of up to 2 years.


Statutory Sick Pay and Minimum Wage Entitlements

We covered changes to these employer obligations in details in our recent Employment Law Update.

Learn More

Sick Pay
The Sick Leave Act is effective from the 1st of January 2023 and legislates for a statutory sick pay scheme for all Employees in Ireland, phased in over a four-year period.

To be entitled to paid sick leave under the new scheme, an Employee must be working for the Employer for at least 13 continuous weeks. An Employee will also need to be certified by a GP as unfit to work.

Eligible Employees are entitled to paid sick leave for up to 3 days per year in year 1 – 2023. This is planned to increase to 5 days in year 2 of the phased rollout, 7 days in year 3 and 10 days in year 4. Employers must pay 70% of an Employee’s gross normal earnings (up to a maximum of €110 per day).

Minimum Wage
The 2023 Budget that was set out by the Government way back in September 2022, sees a number of measures coming into effect at the start of this year including an increase to The National Minimum Wage.

As of January 1st, 2023, The National Minimum Wage has seen a 7.6% increase from €10.50 to €11.30 per hour and is expected to boost the wages of around 164,700 people across Ireland.  For an Employee earning the National Minimum Wage working a 39-hour week, this will result in a pay increase of €31.20 per week or more than €120 per month, or €1,600 per annum.