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New Protected Disclosures Act 2022

Published 20 Jun 2022

The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 is out and the Protected Disclosures Act 2022 is in, as from 1st July 2022.

Colloquially known as the whistleblower's act, this legislation is a cornerstone in keeping NZ organisations legally accountable for their actions and for their honesty and integrity in business, particularly larger and more powerful organisations and more so public companies. It's part of the bigger picture of stamping out corruption at a high level. However it is also applicable to the small business which comprises most of NZ.

While we've had the Act since 2000 it has been cumbersome and difficult to realistically enforce. In recent years it has been strongly criticised as no longer fit for purpose and in need of bringing up to date with modern regulations and culture.  The idea of the Act has always been to provide employees of a company a formal framework to report cases of 'serious wrongdoing' by management of their company in business and provide protection from forms of retribution such as being disciplined or disadvantaged for doing so. If a staff member was witness to a potential crime or serious safety risks, they had job protection under law to enable them to formally report their concern.

Although a year behind its original schedule now takes effect next month. The new Act serves to clarify and extend the definition of what is covered by 'serious wrongdoing' along with the nature of enforcement actions and capabilities by the appropriate authorities, but it also now allows staff to report directly to an appropriate body without having to first raise it internally with the company.

Only organisations in the Public sector must have a whistleblowing policy by law, it is still good practice for private businesses to do the same. Encouraging transparency, clarity and protection to staff while taking control of a situation early can potentially circumvent more serious escalations later on if left unaddressed.

To this end our new Employment Agreements cover this off. All our templates reflect the changes with this new Act and more.