Future of Work: Employers’ collection and use of worker data

Half of workers do not know what data employers are collecting about them, according to research carried out by Prospect in February 2020.

Yellow slide with text: Nearly half of people don't know what data their employers collect about them

Prospect surveyed over 7,500 workers and found that 48% were not confident they knew what data their employer collected about them and 34% were not confident that this data would be used in an appropriate way.

The growing role of new technologies in workplaces mean employers are accumulating rapidly increasing amounts of data on their employees.

Read more on data and workers’ rights from Prospect research director Andrew Pakes.

Yellow slide with text: More than a third of workers had no confidence that their employer would use their data appropriately.

Data is also becoming an increasing focus for the work of trade unions who are fighting to ensure that workers’ data rights are protected and that decisions made by AI are transparent and open to challenge.

Prospect is working to ensure that the benefits of technology are shared by workers, and that we have protection for how workers’ data is used.

Read more about the survey

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Prospect has published a new briefing on the use of workers’ data, which includes a call for:

  • A right to privacy – explicit commitments on employers’ collection and use of employee data should be included in employee contracts, collective agreements and bargaining processes, and in employee privacy notices required by GDPR rules.
  • A right to disconnect – to challenge the always-on culture and blurring lines between family life and work.
  • A right to challenge and be involved – Employees and union should have the right to check and challenge how their data is used, and what inferences are made, in employers’ decision-making processes,
  • A right to equality – use of existing data and equality laws to ensure new technology, automated decisions and algorithms challenge bias and prejudice
  • A right to be consulted – union representation on national bodies determining guidance on the design and use of AI and new technology.
Future of Work: Employers’ collection and use of worker data Download the report