Law on the Protection of Signalers – a law about which very little is known in the private sector

Pristine, 19 March 2021 – The Law on Protection of Signalers has been adopted for two years now in Kosovo, but this law is not being implemented in the field of the private sector. Apart from not being implemented, there is very little information about the existence of such a law that affects the private sector in the country.

Even, Telegrafi has contacted some local companies and representatives of chambers but the same have said that they have little information about the work and responsibilities of this law.

The Law on Protection of Signalers, which aims to report any irregularities in the private and public sector that are to the detriment of the public interest, was approved by the Assembly of Kosovo on December 18, 2018.

The President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, Arian Zeka for the Telegraf says that the private sector has very little knowledge regarding the Law on Protection of Signalers.

“I think that there is modest knowledge within private sector companies regarding the existence of the Law on Signal Protection, even when I say modest I am emphasizing the need for a slightly more aggressive campaign by business associations and institutions responsible, but why not also civil society organizations. The American Chamber of Commerce in this regard has organized or co-organized several events with the FOL Movement to inform businesses themselves about the existence of such a law, the benefits that arise for private sector employers, respectively managers of private sector enterprises.” said he.

Zeka says that the Labor Inspectorate should continue with its role, but not be punitive.

“I believe that the Labor Inspectorate should continue with its informative role, while in recent years PIK has been active in promoting safety at work and employees, given the incidents that have occurred in this regard. I believe that such campaigns should be carried out in the promotion of the Law on the protection of whistleblowers. “The approach should not be punitive, as we have a relatively new law, about which there was little knowledge, so we should avoid possible sanctions or penalties,” said he.

Florent Spahija from the Democratic Institute of Kosovo has also stated about the functioning of the Law on Protection of Signalers.

Protection of whistleblowers is a very important area and the new law still does not find application, unfortunately in its entirety, because we do not have a regulation, where they are obliged from 6 months immediately after approval to be issued by the Ministry of Justice, in this sense, The unfortunate thing is that our institutions have not yet achieved the law in full. “There have been occasional signals, but both the courts and the institutions themselves have been reluctant to protect them in the sense of the new law,” he told Telegrafi.

Spahija claims that the private sector has very little knowledge about the Law on Protection of Signalers.

“The private sector is not that much knowledge, for the fact that part of the private sector is left a little aside by law, the private sector owes over 50 people and then an official responsible for signaling, on the other hand what we see is that there are no people placed in the institution “, he said.

Meanwhile, the president of the Independent Workers’ Union, Jusuf Azemi says that the situation of workers in the private sector continues to be bad. As for the Law on Protection of Signalers in Kosovo, Azemi says that he does not believe that it will be respected.

“We have always given the picture that the situation of workers in the private sector is very serious and with signs of deterioration, as we have no element that their position will be regulated, on the contrary starting from the lack of contract, from low wages, from lack of legal support, and from the collective agreement, they make the situation of workers worse in the region. I do not believe that the Law on Protection of Signalers will be implemented either “, stressed Azemi.

On the other hand, the Labor Inspectorate, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Law on Signal Protection, says that due to the pandemic they have not managed to take the necessary actions to implement this law.

The Chief Inspector of the Labor Inspectorate, Ekrem Kastrati in an electronic response to the Telegrafi has stated about this topic.

“We inform you that among other things due to the circumstances created by the pandemic, as well as the fact that so far no regulation has been drafted which would regulate the procedure to be followed so far for the above reasons and the small number of inspectors, whose in the first part of 2020 have been engaged in the supervision of antiCOVID-19 measures, we have not managed to take the necessary actions pursuant to Law no. 06 / L-085 on the protection of Signalers.

Except as above based on our information received from employees realized in which IP has been a participating party in relation to this topic, it is understood that it was the obligation of the Ministry of Justice to draft regulations for whistleblowers, but so far it has not approved the regulation in question, which despite the fact that the scope of this regulation is determined to be applicable in the public sector, in our case could have served as a guide for the creation and concretization of rules in the private sector,” says Kryeziu.

However, the Labor Inspectorate says that in the annual work plan for 2021, they have foreseen activities for this topic.

Otherwise, the Law on Signal Protection sets out the rules for signaling, signaling procedure, the rights and protection of whistleblowers and the obligations of public institutions and private entities related to signaling.

A whistleblower is any person who reports or discloses information about a threat or violation of the public interest in the context of his or her employment relationship in the public or private sector.

The FOL movement from February 2020 had started monitoring the implementation of the Law on Signal Protection in the private sector. During this period, FOL has organized numerous information meetings with various businesses, with the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, FOL has drafted the document “Manual with 10 response scenarios for signaling cases in the private sector” which aims to contribute directly to the construction of bridges and communication channels between various institutions and the private sector.

The Guide for Signaling in the Private Sector has been drafted which contains general instructions which facilitate the meaning and content of the Law on Protection of Signalers, related to signaling in the private sector. This guide is designed to help all employees in the private sector, who may signal suspicious actions or practices in their workplace. The guide also contains a Model Regulation which can serve as a guide for drafting private sector law enforcement internal acts.

FOL through various video animations published on television and social networks has promoted and sensitized the public about the importance of signaling and implementation of this law in practice.

This article / story was realized within the project of the FOL Movement “Signalers, the Law to Protect”, which is enabled by the ‘Civil Society Program for Albania and Kosovo’, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by the Foundation Kosovo for Civil Society (KCSF) in partnership with Partners Albania for Change and Development (PA). The content and recommendations presented do not represent the official position of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kosovo Civil Society Foundation (KCSF). / Telegrafi/.