When organizations fail to address the issue of absence management, they quickly find themselves sinking into a mess of lost productivity, questionable staff attendance, and huge amounts of wasted time.

Employee absences are unavoidable, but with regular monitoring, proper training, and continual input from the employees themselves, their effect on productivity can be minimized. 

One such method of evaluating absenteeism patterns in the organization is the Bradford Factor Score. Let’s get into the details of what it is, its pros and cons, and how to calculate it.

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What is the Bradford Factor?

The Bradford Factor is a useful tool for human resources departments. It helps managers evaluate employee absence and to determine whether disciplinary action is necessary or if there are other steps they should take to address the issue. The Bradford Factor can be used as part of an employee’s annual appraisal.

The Bradford factor helps businesses calculate the impact that employee absences will have on the organization. It states that shorter and more frequent employee absences have a far greater impact as compared to longer, more sporadic absences.

The Bradford Factor scoring formula is a tool for assisting HR managers with the monitoring of absenteeism in their organization. It is used to track unplanned spells of absence from the workplace, including days off, sick leave, and bereavement leave.

How is the Bradford Sickness Score Calculated?

Bradford’s absence score or Bradford’s sickness score is determined by the frequency and length of an employee’s absence during a certain period, which is usually 52 weeks. The Bradford scale formula is as follows:

Bradford Factor Score = S x S x D

In this formula, S is the number of spells/instances of absences at a given time period of 52 weeks, and D is the total number of days an employee missed.

What’s a Good or Bad Bradford Score?

A higher Bradford score suggests that an employee’s absences are high, and hence it has a negative impact on the organization.

Let’s see the following examples:

If an employee is absent once over a timeframe of a year for 10 days, their Bradford factor score is:

(1×1) x 10 = 10

If an employee is absent twice over a timeframe of a year for 10 days their Bradford factor score is:

(2×2) x 10 = 40

And if an employee is absent 5 times over a timeframe of a year for 10 days one day at a time, their Bradford factor score is:

(5×5) x 10 = 250

So, it is evident from the examples above that shorter frequent breaks lead to a higher Bradford score. 

What are the Benefits of Using The Bradford Factor? 

Identifying Absenteeism Patterns

The Bradford factor helps identify the absenteeism patterns in an organization. It can be used to detect and analyze specific reasons for absenteeism, which can help managers understand what is causing employees to miss work. This information can then be used to address these issues and improve overall attendance.

By understanding how many people are absent on a given day or over a period of time, it’s possible to identify patterns of absenteeism that may indicate a problem with scheduling or other factors that affect employee productivity. Identifying these patterns can help managers take steps to improve attendance, which will ultimately lead to higher productivity and lower costs for the company. For instance, keeping an eye on burnout and stress levels. In addition, another way of reducing unplanned sick leaves is to make the company a warm, friendly, welcoming, and safe place to work. 

Reduced Absenteeism

The Bradford factor method is a good way to reduce absenteeism in the organization. In addition, it urges employees to take a leave only when it is absolutely necessary.

It’s Efficient

The calculations for the Bradford Factor score don’t take too long. Most of the software comes with a built-in score calculator, so it is a fast and efficient way to monitor absence patterns.

What are the Drawbacks of Using The Bradford Factor? 

As with everything else, the Bradford Factor doesn’t come without drawbacks:

Concerns only Small Illnesses 

First and foremost, it only looks at absences that are due to small illnesses or injuries, which means that it does not account for other types of time off. The formula itself only sticks to measuring sick leaves but doesn’t extend to severe injuries like physical disabilities or mental illnesses.

In addition, employers should also make sure that their absence policies (including their use of Bradford Factor scores) don’t discriminate against employees with disabilities.

Doesn’t Apply to Other Departments 

Another drawback of using the Bradford Factor formula is that it is limited to only a few departments or industries. As a matter of fact, there are a few departments where the work requires employees to take leaves often. 

For instance, in the healthcare industry, nurses are more prone to falling ill and hence can request sick leaves more often. On the other hand, in the catering industry, workers need to take extra care of themselves in order to not get sick. Hence, reduced absences and a lower Bradford factors score.

Lack of Detail

The Bradford factor doesn’t go into much detail when the reasons for taking leave are concerned. For instance, if an employee regularly takes sick leave, it will not show you the reason for taking those leaves. In addition, the mathematical formula of the Brdafird factor ends up showing values in decimals quite often. Whereas absenteeism is a rather complex phenomenon with various underlying factors.

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Bradford Factor Trigger Points

Different companies will set different trigger points for their employees before penalizing them or issuing disciplinary action. Those trigger points and the consequences are entirely up to the company to determine. However, a higher Bradford Factor score will indicate taking disciplinary action against the employee.

As a guideline, trigger points could be spaced out as follows:

  • 0-49: No need to be concerned
  • 50-149: Consider Issuing a Verbal Warning
  • 150-399: Consider Issuing a First Written Warning
  • 400-649: Consider Issuing a Final Written Warning
  • Over 650: Consider Termination

Remember that no two Bradford scores are the same, and they often require context to understand them fully. A Bradford score alone is not an indicator of how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ an employee is; it should be used more in context and as a signal that triggers actions that lead to decisions (and not to trigger any one decision).

Is Bradford Factor Legal and Fair?

Given that businesses carefully determine their trigger points and the consequence for each of these, then yes, the Bradford factor is legal. In other words, the consequences you set for these trigger points should be reasonable.

The method is also a strong way of getting to know how prevalent frequent absenteeism is across the organization and vice versa. Ultimately, the Bradford factor method is a great of dealing with poor attendance by addressing the issue timely and preventing problems. 

In addition, the system is also flexible. The employers can set a trigger point bracket that is not fixed and is slightly flexible. 

Absence Management with AttendanceBot

Absences come in all shapes and sizes. Be it sick leave, paid time off, jury leave, bereavement leave, or a vacation, AttendanceBot helps you manage all of these. Using the system, you can keep an eye on your employee’s absences and hence the Bradford score.

Our absence management tool gives you a fast and easy way to keep track of who’s in the office and who’s out. It also tracks trends over time, so you can see if one group is taking more time off than others or if there are any other patterns that might be worth investigating.

Bradford Score Calculator

Various Bradford score calculators are available online:

1: Bradford Factor

2: CharlieHR’s Bradford score calculator

3: Croner UK

To Sum Up

Bradford Factor score can help businesses monitor the absence patterns of employees in the office and take actions to minimize the scores. We hope you found this article helpful.

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