Toggle high contrast

Artificial Intelligence (Regulation and Employment Rights) Bill

Report type
Research and reports
Issue date

In September 2023, the TUC set up a taskforce with the AI Law Consultancy at Cloisters Chambers, and the Cambridge University Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy, in order to manage the drafting of the Artificial Intelligence (Regulation and Employment) Bill (“The Bill”). 

The Bill was drafted by Robin Allen KC and Dee Masters of the  AI Law Consultancy at  Cloisters chambers. The TUC was assisted in administration of the project by the Cambridge University Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy.   

The Bill benefitted from the input and expertise of a Special Advisory Committee, which met three times across 2023 and 2024. 

Members of the Committee included representatives from a diverse range of organisations and political parties, including the Ada Lovelace Institute, the Alan Turing Institute, Connected By Data, TechUK, UKBlackTech, the British Computer Society, CIPD, the RAI UK, Cambridge University, Oxford University, Prospect, Community, CWU/UTAW, USDAW, GMB and cross-party MPs. The policy expressed in the Bill is that of the TUC and should not be taken to express the policy of these organisations unless explicitly stated. 

Purpose of the Bill 

The Bill regulates the use of artificial intelligence systems by employers in relation to workers, employees and jobseekers to protect their rights and interests in the workplace.  

The Bill also provides for trade union rights in relation to the use of artificial intelligence systems by employers, addresses the risks associated with the value chain in the deployment of artificial intelligence systems in the field of employment, and enables the development of safe, secure and fair artificial intelligence systems in the employment field. 

The rights and obligations contained in the Bill will be enforceable in the Employment Tribunal which is ordinarily a ‘no cost’ jurisdiction (where the parties are responsible for their own costs regardless of outcome). 

Authored by Robin Allen KC and Dee Masters, AI Law Consultancy at Cloisters Chambers

Outline of AI Bill 

The Bill is divided into thirteen Parts, each covering a different aspect of artificial intelligence and employment, with four Schedules which complement these Parts.  There are also Explanatory Notes. 

Part 1: Preliminary  

This part introduces the structure of the Bill. 

Part 2: Core Concepts  

This part of the Bill defines the core concepts that define the remit of the Bill such as ‘artificial intelligence system’, ‘high-risk decision-making’, ‘data’, ‘processing’, ‘emotion recognition technology’, ‘employee’, ‘worker’, ‘jobseeker’ and ‘employer’.   

The decision by an employer or its agent to deploy artificial intelligence systems for ‘high-risk decision-making’ is the trigger for most of the rights and obligations in the Bill.  

‘Decision-making’ means any decision made by an employer or its agent in relation to its employees, workers or jobseekers taken or supported by an artificial intelligence system.  

Decision-making is ‘high-risk’ in relation to a worker, employee, or jobseeker, if it has the capacity or potential to produce legal effects concerning them, or other similarly significant effects. 

The term ‘jobseeker’ is new and covers ‘a person who is actively seeking new employment, whether or not that person is already employed’.  

The definition of ‘employer’ includes an existing employer of a worker or employee and a prospective employer in relation to a jobseeker. 

Part 3: Transparency, Observability, and Explainability  

This Part enacts positive duties on employers and their agents in the employment sphere.  

A new type of assessment called a ‘Workplace AI Risk Assessments’ (WAIRA) is created.   

An employer cannot undertake high-risk decision-making until a WAIRA has risk assessed an artificial intelligence system in relation to health and safety, equality, data protection and human rights. 

There will need to be direct consultation with employees and workers before high-risk decision-making occurs; the WAIRA will be central to that consultation.  

Employees will need to establish and maintain a register of information about the artificial intelligence systems used in high-risk decision-making. 

There will be a right to personalised explanations for a high-risk decisions which are or might reasonably be expected to be detrimental to employees, workers or jobseekers. 

Employees, workers or jobseekers will be entitled to a right to human reconsideration of a high-risk decision.   

Part 4: Prohibition on Detrimental Use of Emotion Recognition Technology 

This part prohibits the use of emotion recognition technology in high-risk decision-making that may be detrimental to a worker, employee or jobseeker.  

Part 5: Prohibition on Discrimination  

Existing rights in the Equality Act 2010 are amended to tailor them to the use of artificial intelligence systems by employers and their agents in relation to employees, workers and jobseekers. 

The amendments include that employees will not be liable for the discriminatory consequences of artificial intelligence systems used by their employers, and employers will need to prove that systems are not discriminatory in order to avoid liability subject to a new audit defence. 

This new audit defence will allow employers and their agents to successfully defend a discrimination claim where they did not create or modify the artificial intelligence system and conducted thorough auditing before deploying it, including introducing careful procedural safeguards.    

Part 6: Health and Wellbeing 

There is a statutory right to disconnect which will be added to the Employment Rights Act 1996. 

Part 7: Dismissal 

This part states that it will be automatically unfair dismissal to dismiss an employee through unfair reliance on high-risk decision-making or as a punishment because an employee has exercised their right to disconnect.  The right to interim relief pending determination of any complaint will also be extended to these scenarios. 

Part 8: Trade Unions 

There are provisions for the fair use of data so that trade unions can be provided with the data collected by employers in relation to their members.    

Existing collective consultation obligations in relation to trade unions are also extended to situations in which an employer is proposing to do high-risk decision-making. 

The consultation must begin at least one month before the high-risk decision-making takes place and must be repeated every 12 months for as long as decision-making continues. 

The consultation must include consultation about the risks to the rights of employees and the measures envisaged to address the risks. 

Part 9: Auditing and Procedural Safeguards  

This section of the Bill sets out the auditing of artificial intelligence systems for discrimination, and the standards which an employer must meet to rely on the auditing defence set out in Part 5.   

Part 10: Regulators and Bodies in the Employment Field and Artificial Intelligence 

This part sets out regulatory obligations concerning artificial intelligence and details the principles that key regulators (identified within Schedule 3) must apply in any context concerning employment and the deployment of artificial intelligence systems.  

The AI Bill Project

This paper sets out the background to the TUC Artificial Intelligence (Employment and Regulation) Bill (“the Bill”), the multi-stakeholder process behind the drafting, why the Bill is needed, and how it could improve the rights of working people.   

AI is rapidly transforming our society and the world of work, yet there are no AI related laws in place in the UK, nor any current plans to legislate soon. 

Urgent action is needed to ensure that people are protected from the risks and harms of AI-powered decision making in the workplace, and that everyone benefits from the opportunities associated with AI at work. Employers and businesses also need the certainty offered by regulation.  

And the more say workers have in how technology is used at work, the more rewarding and productive the world of work will become for us all.  

British workers are overwhelmingly supportive of more worker consultation, with 69% of working adults in the UK agreeing that employers should have to consult their staff first before introducing new technologies such as AI in the workplace. 1

The Bill translates many of the principles and values that seem to attract near universal support (such as the importance of consultation, transparency, explainability and equality) into concrete rights and obligations. It represents a significant step forward in the movement towards the responsible adoption of AI. 

Read the full summary here

AI Bill : Part 1 Preliminary

1. Overview

  1. This Act makes provision for the safe, secure, and fair use of decision- making based on artificial intelligence systems, by employers and prospective employers, in relation to workers, employees and jobseekers, and its provisions are to be construed accordingly.


  1. Part 2 defines the Core Concepts used in this Act.


  1. Part 3 enacts positive duties of transparency, observability and explainability on employers and prospective employers, and persons acting on their behalf.


  1. Part 4 enacts a prohibition on emotion recognition technology which is used to the detriment of workers, employees, and jobseekers.


  1. Part 5 tailors the prohibition in discrimination within the Equality Act


2010 to address the use of artificial intelligence systems by amending the burden of proof and introducing a new defence for employers and their agents, where they have audited the system for discrimination.


  1. Part 6 enacts a right for employees to disconnect.


  1. Part 7 extends the right of employees not to be unfairly dismissed to circumstances when artificial intelligence systems are used and provides protection in relation to the new rights contained in this Act.


  1. Part 8 extends the existing rights and obligations in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 to deployment of artificial intelligence systems and makes further provision for trade unions to secure the fair use of data collected by employers that relates to employees and workers.


  1. Part 9 enacts provisions for the auditing of artificial intelligence systems.


  1. Part 10 enacts enhanced responsibilities for regulators and bodies operating in the employment and artificial intelligence field.


  1. Part 11 enacts provisions to ensure that employers comply with recommendations made by an employment tribunal in proceedings under this Act.


  1. Part 12 enacts provisions to encourage innovation in relation to the use of artificial intelligence systems in the context of employment.


  1. Part 13 contains general and miscellaneous provisions including a power to exempt or modify the obligations within this Act for microbusinesses.


Enable Two-Factor Authentication

To access the admin area, you will need to setup two-factor authentication (TFA).

Setup now