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At today’s press conference of Macedonian Chambers of Commerce (MCC), in collaboration with prof. dr. Taseva Slagjana, it was discussed about the purpose and provisions of the Law on Protection of Whistleblowers, obligations of companies in terms of this Act, the operation of the institutions and authorities in respect of the protected (internal, external and public) applications resulting from this law, rights and obligations of the whistleblowers, providing legal and judicial protection especially in the field of protection of personal data and identity of the whistleblowers, as well as any other specifics pertaining to the legal framework for the protection of whistleblowers.

“The introduction of the Law on Protection of Whistleblowers represents an additional administrative responsibility for companies, and in this month when its implementation begins, we’re not sure what the long-term effects on the business sector in Macedonia will be. This Law once again confirms the importance and significance of the inclusion of relevant representatives of the business sector in the process of preparing a new regulation on which directly affected companies. In this way it will eliminate the additional need to implement additional projects for the revision of existing legislation such as the Regulatory Guillotine and so on” said the Executive director Macedonian Chambers of Commerce, Mr. Mitko Aleksov.

The Law on Protection of Whistleblowers (Official Gazette No.196 / 15) was adopted on 11.10.2015 and started to be applied on 18.03.2016 year. This law regulates the protected application, the rights of the whistleblowers, and actions and responsibilities of institutions or legal persons in connection with protected applications and providing protection to the whistleblowers.

The law exhaustively listed categories of persons under this law who may appear as whistleblowers  and these are:

– A person in charge is employed for an indefinite or definite period in the institution or legal person which applies for;

– Applied for the job, a candidate for a volunteer or intern in an institution or legal entity which reports;

– A person who is or was a volunteer or intern in an institution or legal person which applies for;

– A person who by any account is or has been engaged to carry out work on the institution or legal person which applies for;

– A person who by any account is or has been in a business relationship or other relationship of cooperation with the institution or legal person which applies for;

– A person who uses or used the services of the institution or legal entity in the public and private sector where applying.

The whistleblowers, by law, is guaranteed anonymity and confidentiality to the extent and to the point to which he requires, and authorized person for receipt of applications from whistleblowers is obliged to protect the data of the applicant. Regarding the data protection, the whistleblower is entitled to judicial review.

Authorized or managers of institutions or legal entities in the public sector to which the reporting is executed by law, are obligated to submit semiannual reports, received applications from whistleblowers, to the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption.

According to this law, the obligation of institutions or legal entities with at least 10 employees is to harmonize their work in terms of the protected application and providing protection to the whistleblowers.

The provisions of the bill provide for misdemeanor sanctions – fines in the amount of 2000 – 6000 euros in denars, as the legal and responsible person of the legal entity to act contrary to the obligations of the law, inter alia the adoption of internal acts protected registration, appointment of authorized person for receipt of applications from the whistleblowers and proceeding in accordance with established procedures, and ensuring the protection of the anonymity of the applicant.

Macedonian Chambers of Commerce in the future will conduct training for the Law on Protection of Whistleblowers in order to better inform the companies with the legal obligations arising from it.

March 30, 2016