Bradford Factor

The Bradford Factor or Bradford Formula is used in HR as a means of measuring worker absenteeism. The theory is that short, frequent, and unplanned absences are more disruptive than longer absences.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development the term was first coined due to its supposed connection with research undertaken by the Bradford University School of Management in the 1980s. It was developed as a way of highlighting the disproportionate level of disruption of an organisation's performance that can be caused by short-term absences compared to single instances of prolonged absence. This is illustrated in the table below.

It is argued that if used effectively, the Bradford Factor can help reduce absenteeism by serving as a deterrent and a method for tackling persistent absenteeism. Studies have shown that by educating staff about the Bradford Factor and then showing them their score on a regular basis, absenteeism can be reduced by over 20%.

This is largely due to staff understanding that taking the ‘odd’ day off here and there will quickly contribute to increasing their Bradford Factor score. As unplanned short-term absences are typically the hardest for an organisation to cover, this can have a positive financial impact on the business.

Advocates of the system say that the Bradford Factor illustrates clearly the impact of short-term absence on a business. Once an employee understands this, they can respond in a positive way and perhaps even provide a useful guide to management based on disciplinary action in the event that behaviour does not change, i.e.

  • 51-200 points – informal verbal warning

  • 201-400 points – formal written warning

  • 401-600 points – final written warning

  • 601+ points – dismissal

However, if used as part of only a very limited approach to address absence or by setting unrealistically low trigger scores, it can be considered short-sighted, unlikely to be successful and could lead to staff disaffection and grievances. The formula does not consider certain disabilities which may result in short term absences, such as epilepsy and asthma, or serious but recoverable illnesses such as cancer. The use of the Bradford Factor can therefore provoke debate and discussion and should be used as a guide whilst examining other features driving any absenteeism.

Calculation

The Bradford Factor is calculated as follows:

B = S × S × D

where:

  • B is the Bradford Factor

  • S is the total number of spells (instances) of absence of an individual over a set period

  • D is the total number of days of absence of that individual over the same set period

The 'set period' is typically set as a rolling 52-week period.

For example, this is how 10 days absence could be shown:

#

Scenario

S x

S x

D =

B (Bradford Points)

1

1 instance of absence with a duration of ten days

1

1

10

10

2

3 instances of absence; one of one, one of three and one of six days

3

3

10

90

3

5 instances of absence; each of two days

5

5

10

250

4

10 instances of absence; each of one day

10

10

10

1,000

5

1 instance of absence; with a duration of one working year (240 days)

1

1

240

240

The Bradford Factor calculation is only one feature and benefit of the the identecoHR T&A Toolkit reporting function that allows users to generate scheduled, comprehensive reports specific to their business needs.

Please explore our solution further or get in touch today to discuss your requirements, business issues or challenges.

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