All You Need To Know About The Bradford Score

Posted By : Dipika Rath | 30-Jun-2022

What Is The Bradford Factor?

The Bradford Factor is a very simple formula that allows companies to apply a relative weighting to employees' unplanned absences (sickness, Doctor's appointments, emergency childcare, etc). The Bradford Factor supports the principle of repeating absences have a greater operational impact than the long-term sick. (A weighting policy is an impact that an event will have on the overall running of the normal business. If your weighting score is larger, it has a bigger impact).

How To Calculate The Bradford Factor?

There is a Bradford Formula that is used to calculate the Bradford score S2 x D = B


S - The total number of separate absences by an individual

D - The total number of absence days of that individual

B - The Bradford Factor score

The Bradford Factor allows the managers to monitor absenteeism during any set of periods. Most companies consider the running year as an acceptable year.

How To Use The Bradford Factor?

Bradford factor was firstly developed at the Bradford University School of Management in the early 1980s, this is used by numerous companies across the globe including Government organizations. This factor provides a useful benchmark tool, that enables managers to have an assessment score for an individual staff's absence record. This factor does not take into account any specific factors such as disability, a short-term but recurring illness-causing absenteeism over a period of weeks, but is useful for the early identification of concerns, or as a tracking tool. Many companies utilize this Bradford Factor score as a trigger guide to implement more comprehensive support and monitoring procedures for individuals. The Bradford Factor can support the staff's absence management strategy effectively but this is limited if used as a stand-alone tool.

Is the Bradford Factor a good way to measure employee absence?

There are a numerous weighted papers in relation to the Bradford factor, the truth is that there are strengths and weaknesses with this tool. This factor provides a simple numeric output. However, some tools are only as good as the individuals who use them. How the numeric score is used is entirely dependent on the manager and the organizational approach/absence management strategy. So, whether this is used as a stand-alone gauge or as a part of a comprehensive absence management program, the Bradford factor always remains a tool for people managers.

"The effectiveness of the Bradford Factor Score entirely depends on what data is used for the calculation and how the results are analyzed and interpreted. The Bradford factor is not a stand-alone answer to the unplanned absence management, it is merely a benchmark from which you can actually start making an informed decision as to whether or not an issue exists with any of your staff."

Are Bradford Scores the best way to calculate sickness absence rates?

The Bradford factor is not a comprehensive tool, it does not define the specific actions as to why the absence has been marked and fails to take into consideration a number of ‘affecting factors’. It is the manager and the organization who should consider what information should be calculated. Then the tool and the data provided will deliver a successful absence management program. While reviewing papers and case studies that discredit the Bradford factor, the major focus is to look at the context of the application. Many failures are typical because of poor policy, training, application, and interpretation of results. The "Bradford factor index" should form a part of an absence management program with key strategies and operational objectives.

The Bradford factor fails to factor:

  • Repeat absences: If staff is taking regular leaves on Friday/Sunday.
  • Late attendance: Continually late staff can cause as much disruption and lost time as regularly absent staff.
  • Medical conditions, disabilities, etc.
  • Dependants: Absence resulting because of a dependant being unwell.
  • Compassionate: Death, serious illness, distressing family/home events which prevent the individual from being at work or in the right frame of mind to work effectively.

Factors affecting Employee Absence

The most important key to a successful absence management strategy is understanding what is actually driving the absence. Typical factors include:

  • Poor Training
  • Bad Management
  • Unethical management (bullying, harassment, racism, etc)
  • Poor conditions
  • Poor rumination
  • Sense of belonging/inclusion
  • Lack of commitment
  • Cultural behavior


As an employer, all the aspects of absence are in your direct control. You can always encourage increased commitment but then the reality is that some workers never commit effectively to their work. So, that becomes a good proportion of factors within your control. If you are seeing increasing absenteeism, it is worth looking for trends, is one department having some issues compared to others? If the problem exists in all the departments, is this because of the culture or the condition of your facility? Be honest and subjective if you seriously want a positive change. If the issue is cultural, this can be challenging and not technically impossible, rewarding for '0' absence can be a good way to adopt a positive attendance culture.

At Oodles, we provide end-to-end ERP software development services with a focus on implementing next-gen technologies. Our seasoned developers are skilled at developing custom ERP applications from the ground-up to address the diverse industry-specific needs of our clients.

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