Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 14/02/2019

Peer Review on “Enhancing whistleblower protection through better collaboration between responsible authorities – a tool to prevent and tackle work-related crime”, Oslo, Norway, 14-15 February 2019

The peer review discussed good practices to enhance cooperation between different national authorities to prevent and tackle work-related crime.

The objective of this peer review was to exchange experiences how this cooperation can be organised and accomplished; what are the main barriers to such cooperation and how these can be overcome.

In Norway, several public authorities cooperate in combating work-related crime. Legislation on whistleblowing for private and public employees in the Norwegian Working Environment Act (WEA) have been active since 2007. In 2016 the Norwegian government appointed a committee to gather knowledge on whistleblowing and consider measures to promote it.

The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority is in charge for an ongoing national whistleblowing coordination project aiming to improve the way government agencies interact with whistleblowers. Currently 14 government agencies are participating in the project. The project has identified several areas of improvement, including coherent public information from the agencies and a consistent and common routine for case processing. To address these issues the agencies have agreed on an action plan for 2018-2019 including initiatives such as a training program on whistleblowing issues, internal workshops, and communication tools and manuals.

The Peer Review was hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and organised under the Mutual Learning Programme (MLP).

Background

Work-related crime refers to undeclared work and unlawful activities that breach laws relating to pay and working conditions, social security and taxation. Vulnerable workers are at risk of being exposed to poor working conditions and irregular practices. By reporting or disclosing such acts or omissions (whistleblowing), they can contribute to expose, stop and prevent various forms of wrongdoings in the workplace, detrimental to the public interest. Consequently, effective protection of whistleblowers against retaliation can contribute to more effective enforcement. National public authorities and/or other competent reporting channels, as well as the social partners, play an important role to secure and ensure whistleblowers protection.

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