As seen in the June edition of the QHA Review.
You may have heard about the new legislation affecting whistleblowers in the corporate and financial sector and wondered, will this affect my hotel? While there are a myriad of ways that hotels can be structured in terms of corporate ownership, we thought it would be a good idea to clarify which companies will be caught by this legislation and how your company and hotel can be compliant.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2018 (Cth) received Royal Assent on 12 March 2019 and will commence on 1 July 2019. The new laws introduce strengthened protections for whistleblowers who assist in the early detection and prosecution of corporate or tax misconduct and seek to improve corporate governance practices within Australian businesses.
All companies will be covered by the legislation, however, the legislation also includes a new requirement for certain companies to have a compliant whistleblower policy in place by 1 January 2020.
The new laws will change and expand the existing whistleblower protection framework by:
If your hotel is owned by a public or large private company, the requirement to have a whistleblower policy in place will apply to you.
A large private company is one that satisfies at least two of the following thresholds within a given financial year: consolidated revenue of at least $25 million, consolidated gross assets of at least $12.5 million, or at least 50 employees within the company and the entities it controls.
To satisfy the requirements of the legislation and avoid penalties, a whistleblower policy must include the following information:
The new whistleblower protection laws will apply to disclosures made on or after 1 July 2019 but may relate to matters that occurred prior to this date.
Public and large private companies must ensure that they have a compliant whistleblower policy in place as soon as possible and by no later than 1 January 2020 to avoid penalties under the new legislation.
All companies need to be aware of the new whistleblower protection laws and provide employees with appropriate and relevant training, particularly to officers and senior managers who will be eligible to receive protected disclosures under the new regime.
If you would like us to assist you with preparing a compliant policy or if you have any questions about the new whistleblower protection laws, please contact us as we would be happy to assist.
Article by Curt Schatz (Partner) and Frances Kelly (Solicitor).
"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."