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Notification procedure for misconduct (Hvk Act)

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

Does your company employ over 50 people? Then you must have a notification procedure in place, which makes it possible to report (a suspicion of) misconduct. This is laid down in the Dutch Whistleblowers Authority Act (Wet Huis voor klokkenluiders or Hvk in Dutch).

What is a notification procedure?

A notification procedure is a means for employees to report a suspicion of misconduct safely and confidentially. Misconduct is defined as dangerous, immoral, or illegal practices that harm society. For instance:

  • There is a threat to public health
  • Your company is breaking the law
  • Your company is damaging the environment
  • People are in danger
  • Your public service or enterprise is not working

The notification procedure is not meant for reporting individual problems between an employee and an employer.

What must the notification procedure contain?

The notification procedure must state:

  • How your company handles a notification
  • What counts as misconduct, when can employees report an incident
  • Who can be notified
  • That you will treat the information as confidential

You must inform your employees that there is a notification procedure in place. The Dutch Whistleblowers Authority has published a brochure on the internal investigation process that complies with the requirements of the Whistleblowers Authority Act.

Who has to have a notification procedure?

You are obliged to have a notification procedure in place if you have more than 50 employees. This includes:

  • employees with a contract
  • employees with a zero-hours contract
  • employees you have seconded or outsourced
  • agency workers/temps who work in your company for over 24 months
  • other persons who you count as employees, if you have agreed this with a works council (OR)

The Dutch Whistleblowers Authority

An employee can report a case of company or government misconduct to the Dutch Whistleblowers Authority (in Dutch). The Dutch Whistleblowers Authority can help you as an employer to prevent misconduct, and to improve your organisation’s integrity.

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