Using Bradford Factor Scores



Bradford Factor Scores, Monitoring & Trigger Points are built into the Activ Absence Management System


Bradford Factor Calculator


Calculating an employees Bradford Factor is an automated absence management tool already built into Activ Absence.  Whether you are in HR or an employees Line Manager, you can monitor Bradford Factor scores automatically using configurable absence trigger alerts and management reports.

If you want to check an employees Bradford Factor score, you can  click here to access our handy Bradford Factor Calculator.

Calculating the Bradford Factor

The Bradford Factor can be calculated using the standard formula below:

S x S x D = B

  • S = spells of absences by an individual
  • D = total number of days absent
  • B = Bradford Factor score

Your organisation can then use the Bradford Factor to monitor absenteeism during any given period, typically a rolling twelve months. Activ Absence can be configured to alert you automatically when certain Bradford Factor scores has been reached to enable you to monitor absence in line with your company policies.  We’d be happy to show you in a demo, just click below:

How can the Bradford Factor can help

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 down 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.

In summary, the Bradford Factor illustrates clearly the impact of short term absence on a business.  Once an employee understands this, they often respond in a positive way.


Bradford Factor Calculator dashboard from Activ Absence

Examples of how Bradford Factor scores can be used

How organisations use the Bradford Factor score to manage absenteeism is variable.  There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to use the Bradford Factor.  Employers don’t have to use it, but those who do find it a useful absence management recording tool.

Most employers using it have a ‘set Bradford score’ that triggers an absence review, which we can set up automatically in Activ Absence. The actual Bradford Factor where a review is triggered varies widely among employers and will be determined by your company’s absence management policy.

A typical example of how Bradford Factor scores might be used is provided below.  Trigger alerts have been set based on an employees Bradford score with the associated action:

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

Activ Absence has configurable trigger points that can be configured to monitor and alert the HR team and/or line managers when a Bradford Factor score reaches a pre-determined threshold.

Whether the Bradford Factor is used for disciplinary reasons or not, by an employee simply having visibility of their own Bradford Factor has a positive effect on staff sickness because staff take pride in keeping Bradford Factor scores low.

Bradford Factor concerns and limitations

The Bradford Factor and Disability

The Bradford Factor scoring mechanism does not take into account certain disabilities.  The British Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and 2005 (DDA), (replaced by the Equality Act 2010) creates a duty on employers to tailor their actions to the individual circumstances of disabled employees.  Disabilities may not be ‘visible’.

Disabilities like epilepsy or asthma are more likely to result in short term rather than long term absence.  Employers cannot be deemed to discriminate against disability, therefore these protected characteristics may need to be taken into account, and may need to be recorded separately and excluded from Bradford Factor scoring.

In Activ Absence, this is easy to do by creating a separate absence type for disability related absence that will not contribute to an employees Bradford Factor score.  This helps you and your employee keep track of absences specifically related to that condition.  This means that your employee has a record they are able to share with their consultant if they choose – vital for staff keen to monitor seizure and asthma patterns.

Bradford Factor Calculator and short term sickness

Special Cases

The scoring mechanism does not take account of the impact of cancer or a serious but recoverable illness.

Cancer sufferers may need months off work and could easily rack up over 200 points from a single long absence, but the illness is often recoverable and staff will seek to return as soon as they are physically able.

Most employers would not want to give a written warning or other disciplinary remedies in these circumstances.  In those instances gentle, sensitive handling and implementing a return to work plan is usually more appropriate.

Again, Activ Absence can differentiate these ‘special‘ absence cases whilst enforcing a visibly fair absence policy by creating a specific absence type, excluding it from the Bradford Factor calculator.

Who decides what is a ‘special case’?

As with any complex HR policy, when and where the Bradford Factor is appropriate is a matter for expert guidance and we ALWAYS recommend advise seeking professional advice on each individual case from a qualified HR professional or a legal specialist.  (If you don’t have your own, here is a link to the experts we recommend.)

Learn more about Bradford Factor Scores

We’re often asked how to calculate an employees Bradford Factor score.

Our short video below introduces the Bradford Factor and how to calculate it and we’ve also created a handy Bradford Factor guide, free to download in our resources section.