The Bradford Factor. What it is and how to calculate it?

When one person misses work, the entire workflow is disrupted. It might seem like a minor problem, but absenteeism is the cause of low performance, increased production costs, and conflicts. It affects task planning and work relationships. Unplanned short employee absences cause more problems for managers because it is more difficult to react to a sudden event.

The Bradford factor is the easiest way to monitor short absences and trigger disciplinary actions before it is too late. It helps you keep absenteeism under control, observe patterns, and better understand your workforce.

What is the Bradford Factor?

The Bradford factor is an HR means of measuring absenteeism on an individual basis. It is designed to trigger the monitoring of employees who frequently take short, unplanned absences. The Bradford factor is based on the belief that short-term absences disrupt the working processes more than long and planned absences.

The factor takes into consideration 12 months and produces a score for each employee. The method analyzes the scores in relation to a scale. When an employee's score exceeds a particular value, the HR team starts monitoring or applying disciplinary actions. Each company can define its own Bradford scale, but, usually, it has four stages:

  • Smaller than 50: No actions
  • Between 50 and 100: Send warnings
  • Between 100 and 1000: Take disciplinary actions
  • Over 1000: Consider dismissal.

How to Calculate Bradford Scores?

Bradford scores are given by a formula. You need to know the number of absences of an employee over a year and the number of days of absence of the same employee over a year. The Bradford score formula is:

Bradford factor = (the number of absences in the past year)2 x (the number of days of absence in the past year)

For example, if an employee had 1 long vacation of 20 days, the Bradford factor will be 12 x 20 = 20. So, there is no reason for concern. On the contrary, if an employee had 5 short absences of 4 days each, the Bradford factor will be 52x20 = 500. Even if the employee took the same number of days off in total, the Bradford score would sanction the fragmentation of the leave.

How to Use Bradford Scores?

Bradford scores are higher when an employee uses time-off in a fractionated manner and lower when an employee takes more extended time-off periods. As short-term absences are considered disruptive and more impactful on your organization, a high Bradford score requires you to take action.

However, the Bradford factor doesn't give strict indications, and it is up to you to decide the parameters. You may create your system of interpreting the results and taking action. For example, you may allow your employees to divide their leave into 3 or 4 stages (e.g., summer vacation, winter holidays, off-season time off, etc.). Considering a leave entitlement of 20 days, you'll consider a Bradford score of 32x20 = 180 or 42x20=320 absolutely normal.

The best way to use the Bradford scores is to create a chart tailored to your organization's requirements. Consider the average leave entitlement, the cultural and social environment, and your staff's lifestyle. Don't use a formula as it is just because others say it's good for you. Personalize the HR processes to fit your company's policy and workforce.

Use The Bradford Factor Calculator Template

An Excel Bradford Factor Calculator is the easiest way to monitor absenteeism. Our Bradford Factor Calculator allows you to input data for each employee: how many days of time-off an employee had in a year and in how many stages the employee took time off. Then, it automatically computes the Bradford scores and highlights them according to our scale (i.e., smaller than 320, it's OK; between 320 and 1000, start monitoring the employee; greater than 1000, take measures).

 Download our free Bradford Factor Calculator and check out the scores for your employees. Personalize the template by introducing the list of employees and their leave balances. You can use our scale or create your own.

Download the Bradford Factor Calculator Template

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