Bradford Factor

The Bradford Factor

The Bradford Factor is a measure that combines absence frequency and duration measures to identify an employee’s irregularity of attendance. It is a way of illustrating how frequent short-term absences may cause more disruption to an organisation than occasional long-term absences: the higher the ‘score’, the worse the disruption. It is calculated using the following formula:

How to calculate the Bradford Factor

  • S x S x D=Bradford Factor
  • S is the number of spells of absence of an individual over a given period; and
  • D is the total number of days of absence of the individual over the same period.

Four employees (a, b, c and d) have the same absence duration of 10 days. However, their pattern of absence is very different – as their Bradford Factor.

highlight through the weighting given to frequent short-term absence.

(a) One absence of 10 days

Bradford Factor = 1 x 1 x 10 = 10 points

(b) Three absences of one day, three days and then six days

Bradford Factor = 3 x 3 x 10 = 90 points

(c) Five absences of two days each

Bradford Factor = 5 x 5 x 10 = 250 points

(d) Ten absences of one day each

Bradford Factor = 10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000 points

Monitoring & Trigger Points

The Bradford Factor is increasingly used by organisations to identify employees with frequent short-term absence that may require further investigation. Individuals’ scores can be monitored and when a threshold (or trigger point) is reached, a notification can be sent  to HR to start the process of absence reviews.

An example of how the Bradford Factor could be applied:

The Bradford Factor can be utilised by creating “triggers” whereby certain actions are taken when an employee’s Bradford score reaches a certain point. For example, a major public sector employer uses  the following trigger points:

  • 51 points – verbal warning.
  • 201 points – written warning
  • 401 points – final warning
  • 601 points – dismissal

The number of Bradford points that trigger an absence review varies widely among employers.

Activ Absence has configurable trigger points to help monitor when Bradford Factor thresholds have been met.

High visibility Bradford Factor policy benefits

It is widely accepted that, used effectively, the Bradford Factor can 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 down to staff understanding that taking the ‘odd’ day off here and there will quickly multiply their Bradford Factor score. The Bradford Factor places a value on the impact of the absence which an employee can clearly see, this can serve to deter absenteeism.


See also: Automatic calculations | Online Bradford Factor calculator

Activ Absence is a complete absence management software solution that can be configured to reflect the specific ways of working, culture and policies of your organisation.

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