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New legal obligations SMEs

New legal obligations SMEs Publicado: 05-12-2023

As of December 1, of the current year, the deadline has expired for companies with 249 employees or fewer on the payroll to have an anonymous reporting channel, legally referred to as the Internal Information System (SII).

What is the SII? 

The Internal Information System (SII) refers to Law 2/2023 of February 20, which regulates the protection of individuals reporting regulatory violations and fighting against corruption. Its primary objective is to safeguard individuals who, in a professional or labor context, report crimes, violations of labor law, European law, or serious administrative offenses. The new regulation aims to ensure the anonymity of whistleblowers so that they do not face repercussions for fulfilling their legal duty to report. 

The key points to comply with the SII regulations include: 

  • Ensuring the usability of the channels
  • Guaranteeing the confidentiality of the whistleblowers
  • Diligently following up on reported incidents

It will be crucial for companies receiving reports through these anonymous channels to start an investigation procedure into the reported issues and take necessary measures to protect the whistleblower. 

What can happen to my company if I don`t comply with the SII regulations? 

The sanctions imposed by the competent authorities on companies failing to comply with Law 2/2023 of February 20, will depend on the severity of the violation, as the Public Administration will assess the harm of non-compliance in each circumstance.

However, it`s important to note that only mild sanctions can reach up to €100.000, and the fines will increase exponentially. 

Violations can be varied, ranging from not establishing anonymous reporting channels to taking reprisals against whistleblowers. Although the law provides some flexibility in implementing the SII model in companies, such as the number of people that are part of this committee, if the independence and autonomy of anonymous channels within companies are not guaranteed, or if they are not provided with sufficient means to fulfill their purpose, companies may face financial sanctions for insufficient compliance with the regulations. 

The mentioned law establishes the scale of penalties for companies as follows: 

  • Minor violations: up to €100.000
  • Serious violations: from €100.001 to €600.000
  • Very serious violations: from €600.001 to €1.000.000

Economic sanctions are not the only consequences for non-compliance with the SII regulations; other consequences include the prohibition of obtaining subsidies or tax benefits for up to 4 years, and the prohibition of contracting with the government for a maximum of 3 years, among others. 

What can I do if I still don`t carry on with the regulations? 

If the maximum deadline has passed and you have not yet implemented the SII regulations, it is advisable to act as quickly as possible in your company to comply with the new legal requirements. This is the only way to prevent sanctions in case public authorities (at the regional and national level) conduct an inspection or receive reports from internal or external agents denouncing the lack of law application. 

Gentile Law, experts in corporate law, can advise you on compliance with the new regulation.

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