Robot workers would be liable for social security payments under new European Union plans.
The robots’ owners would be liable for paying the bill, a draft motion in the European Parliament suggests.
The move comes as robots increasingly threaten jobs previously carried out by humans.
The bill suggest that robotic workers be classified as “electronic persons with specific rights and obligations”, and that a register be drawn up to keep tabs on their various liabilities.
However Germany’s engineering association the VDMA said it believed the rules will likely take decades to come in — and introducing them too early could hamper the growth of robotics.
Director Patrick Schwarzkopf told Reuters: “That we would create a legal framework with electronic persons – that’s something that could happen in 50 years but not in 10 years. We think it would be very bureaucratic and would stunt the development of robotics.”
The move comes over concerns that with more jobs being taken over by robots, a large hole could be left in the social security system due to reduced payments.
The draft measure from the European Parliament’s committee on legal affairs would only be non-binding if passed.
However, it could pave the way for legislation changes in the future.