How Is The New AI Regulation Bill Set To Change The Workplace?

The Artificial Intelligence (Regulation and Employment) Bill, drafted by Robin Allen KC and Dee Masters from the AI Law Consultancy at Cloisters Chambers and supported by the TUC, aims to manage the use of AI by employers, ensuring workers’ rights are protected. The Bill, influenced by a diverse advisory committee, seeks to safeguard employees and jobseekers from potentially unfair AI practices in hiring and workplace decisions.

Robin Allen KC explains the essence of the Bill: “Our objective is to establish a legal framework that guides employers on the responsible use of AI, so workers’ rights are not undermined by these powerful technologies.”


What Protections Will It Offer?

The Bill introduces specific measures aimed at regulating AI applications that could really affect employees or jobseekers. It requires employers to conduct a Workplace AI Risk Assessment (WAIRA) before engaging in what the Bill describes as ‘high-risk decision-making’. This process involves evaluating AI systems against several key factors including health and safety and equality, so that they are safe and fair.


Key provisions include:

  • Banning emotion recognition technology in sensitive decision-making to avoid biases.
  • Adapting the Equality Act 2010 to cover AI-induced discrimination, to make sure that employers show non-bias.
  • Instituting a statutory ‘right to disconnect’, allowing employees to not engage with work communications after hours without facing negative consequences.


This makes sure AI is used constructively without harming employee rights.


How Will This Benefit The Workplace?

The Bill clarifies the rules around AI use, giving employers a clear framework to follow, which can promote innovation while maintaining trust with employees. For workers, it guarantees more transparency and control over how decisions made by AI impact their work lives. Employees and jobseekers can receive clear explanations for AI decisions and can challenge these decisions through human review if needed.

Dee Masters from AI Law Consultancy commented on the balance the Bill seeks to achieve: “While we embrace the efficiencies AI brings to the workplace, we must ensure these systems do not become tools of unfairness. This Bill provides mechanisms to keep the deployment of AI in check.”



What Responsibilities Do Employers Have?

Right before putting these AI systems that affect high-stake decisions to work, employers must conduct a detailed Workplace AI Risk Assessment, or WAIRA. This assessment checks out any potential risks related to health, safety, and discrimination that AI systems might pose in the workplace.

The Bill mandates employers to keep a public register of AI systems they use for major decision-making, for transparency. Also, they are required to provide detailed explanations to affected individuals—whether employees or job seekers—regarding decisions influenced by AI, making sure that everyone understands how and why decisions are made.

Robin Allen KC, one of the drafters, spoke on the importance of these processes: “It’s about building trust. Employers need to show that their use of AI is not only efficient but also fair and transparent. By documenting and explaining AI use, we foster a more inclusive work environment.”


How Are Unions Involved?

Trade unions play a critical role under the new regulations. The Bill extends the rights of unions, so that they are informed and consulted about the use of AI that impacts their members. Unions will have access to the data used and can negotiate on behalf of the employees to secure fair treatment and prevent discriminatory practices.

Dee Masters adds, “Unions are our partners in navigating the AI landscape in the workplace. Their involvement makes sure that workers’ perspectives and rights are considered at every step of implementing AI technologies.”

The Bill’s progression through the legislative process will likely start discussions on the optimal integration of AI in work settings as a way to balance tech advancements with the protection of workers.