Calls for input on whistleblower policies
ASIC is calling for public input on its proposed guidance on the new legal obligation on companies to implement a whistleblower policy.
Public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities must implement a whistleblower policy and make it available to their officers and employees by 1 January 2020. This requirement was introduced as part of the reforms to the corporate sector whistleblower regime that commenced on 1 July 2019.
ASIC has issued a proposed regulatory guide Whistleblower policies to explain how companies can establish, implement and maintain a policy. It covers the information that companies must include in their whistleblower policy, including how they will support and protect whistleblowers and handle and investigate whistleblower disclosures.
"Companies need to have a robust and clear whistleblower policy to effectively deal with whistleblower disclosures," said commissioner John Price.
"Transparent whistleblower policies are essential to good risk management and corporate governance. They help uncover wrongdoing that may not otherwise be detected."
According to Mr Price, when implemented appropriately, whistleblower policies will help companies to comply with their legal obligations to protect whistleblowers from being identified and from detriment.
"Whistleblower policies help ensure those who put their personal and financial lives at risk to report wrongdoing can access their rights and protections under the law."
ASIC is also seeking feedback about exempting public companies that are small not-for-profits or charities from the requirement to have a whistleblower policy. Currently, the regulator is seeking views on whether this would minimise the risk of a disproportionate regulatory burden on these small not-for-profits and charities.
The consultation is open for six weeks, with comments due by 18 September 2019.