Labour Rights

Use of automation or artificial intelligence leads to a reduction in hours of work and/or increased redundancies for employees


While automation or artificial intelligence (AI) may enhance efficiencies and productivity, it may also put workers at risk of redundancy where their roles are replaced. It is anticipated that jobs will change radically or disappear entirely in the future due to automation and AI.


Nearly three in five jobs face a high risk of automation. Research shows that disruptive technologies, such as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, additive printing, the Internet of Things, nanotechnology, automation and robotics, are not only becoming better, but are also being combined. Decreases in their costs and increases in their accessibility promise future productivity and the creation of new jobs. However, these technologies simultaneously challenge existing configurations of the workplace, forcing dramatic changes at alarming speeds and often rendering human-performed occupations redundant. Business enterprises must equip their workers to proactively respond and adapt to these fast-encroaching technologies and be prepared for the consequences of any job displacement.


One way that businesses can mitigate the impact of automation on the dislocation of the workforce is through increasing their skill sets. Employers should undertake a risk assessment to determine which skill levels will be most impacted by job losses in their own sector, what core skills will be in highest demand, and whether education and training could be provided according to the changing needs of the enterprise.


Responding to technological advancement also reinforces the importance of promoting decent work for all. Decent work involves work that is productive and contains prospects for personal development.

Continuous development training and learning is a necessary component of meeting such goals, which can also safeguard these workers from the impact brought about by automation.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Convention concerning Employment Policy, 1964 (No. 122)
Convention concerning Termination of Employment at the Initiative of the Employer, 1982 (No. 158)



SDG 8.2

+SDG 8.2: Use of automation or AI assists in the achievement of SDG 8.2: Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high value added and labour-intensive sectors.

SDG 8.3
Use of automation or AI coupled with continuous development training for human workers supports the achievement of SDG 8.3: Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.

SDG 8.5
Use of automation or AI along with continuous development training for human workers aimed at achieving the objective of full employment promotes SDG 8.5: By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.