Do you need workers’ comp insurance for a robot?

Wendy’s plans to replace employees with self-ordering kiosks and how automation is changing the workers’ compensation landscape.

The Detroit Free Press has reported that Wendy’s plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 1 out of 6 franchises nationwide by the end of the year. This will save on labor costs and the $15,000 machines will pay for themselves in about two years.

Engadget is also reporting on comments from Bill Gates suggesting that robots should pay taxes. This is to combat significant job losses that will occur through automation.

Technology continues to change the labor market. Some experts have predicted that automation will cripple our economy while others suggest new jobs will be created. We are fascinated by this debate because of the impact on workers’ compensation.

Michigan has already seen auto no-fault laws passed in response to emerging technologies, such as app based ride-sharing through Uber and Lyft. These changes have resulted in many drivers being classified as independent contractors and not employees. This means workers’ compensation insurance is not available should an accident occur.

Workers’ compensation is designed to protect employees hurt on-the-job. But do you really need insurance for a robot? How about the people who are brought into factories to service and repair these machines?

Michigan law requires companies who regularly employ 3 or more people to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Maybe it is time for robots to be counted as “employees” for the purpose of this numerical test.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

Are new workers’ compensation laws needed for Uber and Lyft drivers?

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by firepile.

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