A blurry image of an office corridor
Image: TungArt7 via pixy

A draft bill produced by the Trades Union Congress in collaboration with the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy and Cloisters barristers would enshrine new rights to protect workers from AI abuse

A draft bill, published Thursday 18 April 2024, would protect workers from misuse of AI by employers.

The Artificial Intelligence (Regulation and Employment Rights) Bill is co-produced by the Trades Union Congress, the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy at the University of Cambridge, and the AI Law Consultancy at Cloisters Chambers.

The bill also benefits from the input and expertise of a Special Advisory Committee, which met three times during its creation.

The Committee, co-chaired by Kate Bell, Assistant General Secretary of the TUC, and Professor Gina Neff, Executive Director of the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy, included representatives from a diverse range of civil society organisations, professional bodies, and political parties.

This bill explicitly deals with the employment relationship and “high-risk” decision making at work that uses AI. It provides protections and rights for workers, employees, jobseekers, and trade unions, as well as obligations for employers and prospective employers.

Key Provisions: 

Transparency, observability and explainability

The bill ensures that workers and unions are fully consulted, involved and informed when AI systems are deployed in the workplace.

This includes an obligation on employers to carry out detailed Workplace AI Risk Assessments and to maintain an accessible register of AI systems in use.

There are rights for employees, workers, and job seekers to personalised explanations and human reviews of high-risk decisions made using AI.

Unions are also given rights to data about members in relation to AI in the workplace.

Emotion recognition technology banned

This bill would protect workers from pseudo-scientific uses of emotion recognition technology by banning its use in the workplace outright, as is already the case in many jurisdictions.

A right to disconnect  

To guard against AI-driven work intensification, there is a right to disconnect for employees. This right has been drafted based on precedents from Europe and Australia.

Employers can still use AI

The bill does not prevent employers from using AI. A defence in the bill will apply where employers can show they have properly audited an AI system, and used it appropriately.

There are some innovation provisions to allow for regulatory sandboxes. This will provide for safe innovation and demonstrates that the measures in the bill will not inhibit innovation.

And there are provisions for dis-applying elements of the bill in very small companies.

Read more on the TUC website.