How to Make an Absence Calculation with the Bradford Factor

Bradford factor

What is the Bradford Factor

The Bradford factor, also referred to as the Bradford Formula/Bradford Score, helps employers make an absence calculation. This data then helps calculate the estimated impact these absences have on a business. 

The tool can calculate any unplanned absences such as:

  • Sickness
  • Doctors and dentist appointments
  • Childcare

What is the Calculation?

As an equation the Bradford Factor calculation is as follows:  S² x D = B (score)

Here S will represent the number of separate instances of absences (squared). You then multiply this by D which refers to the number of days absent total in a 52 week period. 

It is evident when doing this equation that shorter frequent days of absence have a greater effect on business than that of less frequent absences that last for longer periods of time.

Background Information 

This method of estimating the cost of absenteeism on businesses was first developed at the Bradford School of Management in the 1980’s. Furthermore in the 21st century it is in use by many businesses across the globe. The tool is of great use to employers to keep track of absenteeism and understand its estimated effect on their business.

The tool itself has limitations when using it on its own. It does not take into account individual factors like disability or recurring illnesses such as for those affected by asthma or epilepsy. However, it is a useful starting point in helping employers understand where to raise concerns and offer support. 

Examples of Bradford Factor calculations

For this example, imagine you run a small bakery. Over a running year of employment, one of your employees, John, has had a total of 5 days absent from work.

The overall score for John for a Bradford Calculation will depend on how these 5 days were separated in terms of blocks taken. 

If the 5 days were taken off in one period, the calculation would be as follows:

1 (instance of absence) x 1 x 5 (total number of days) = 5 (overall score).

However, if each of these 5 bouts of absence were separate the overall cost to the business would be far greater. The Bradford absence calculation for this is as follows:

5 (instances of absence) x 5 x 5 (total days off) = 125 (overall score).

As you can see from the examples above frequent separate absences add up to larger scores for the Bradford Factor, and therefore have greater effects on business for employers. 

For more information about the Bradford Factor or for HR support, contact us.