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Better protection for whistleblowers

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versieEffective date: 18 February 2023

What has changed?

Do you employ staff? Whistleblowers will have better protection when they report:

  • suspected misconduct
  • violation of European Union law

Whistleblowers who have been wronged will no longer have to prove that they were disadvantaged because of their report. The burden of proof shifts to the employer. The employer will have to prove the disadvantage is not related to the reporting of the (suspected) misconduct or violation.

Where disadvantaging of employees formerly meant only disadvantaging in legal position, such as:

  • suspension
  • dismissal
  • demotion
  • withholding of promotion
  • wage cut
  • change in place of work

The ban on disadvantaging whistleblowers will now include all forms of disadvantaging whistleblowers, for instance:

  • blacklisting
  • refusal to give recommendations
  • bullying
  • intimidation
  • exclusion

The range of people protected has been expanded to include tot only employees and officials, but also volunteers, interns, self-employed/freelancers (zzp'ers), (sub)contractors, shareholders, and (job) applicants.

There will also be a ban on non-disclosure clauses (confidentiality clauses) for whistleblower reports (in Dutch).

Do you employ more than 50 people? You are obliged to have a notification procedure in place. This notification procedure will be subject to stricter requirements (in Dutch).

For whom?

  • companies employing staff


The EU Directive on the protection of whistleblowers has been put into effect on 17 December 2021. The Whistleblowers Protection Act has entered into force on 18 February 2023. However, articles 2, 2a and 2b of the Whistleblowers Protection Act will only apply to companies with 50 to 249 employees from 17 December 2023. Until 17 December 2023, article 2 of the House of Whistleblowers Act (in Dutch) will continue to apply to these employers.

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