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Your complete guide on how to calculate the absence rate of your staff

For HR teams, calculating your team’s absence rates can be an effective tool to help manage your workforce, identify any potential issues and ensure that you can easily manage your team.

In this article, we will look at one of the most popular methods to calculate the absence rate, the Bradford factor, so that you can implement it in your workplace.

How to calculate sickness absence percentages

To measure the amount of time lost to sickness, absence or absenteeism within your business, you can use the Bradford Factor formula. The Bradford Factor, which you can learn more about here, uses the following formula:

B = S x S x D

This equates to:

B (Bradford Factor) = S (Spells or number of occasions of unauthorised absence, in this formula, this is squared) x S x D (The total number of days absent).

Let’s say person ‘A’ has had a total of 7 days off sick in the last year. Their Bradford Factor score will depend on how many blocks of absence they’ve taken. For example:

  • 1 bout of absence: 1 instance x 1 instance x 7 total days off = 7 Score.
  • 2 bouts of absence: 2 instances x 2 instances x 7 total days off = 28 Score.
  • 3 bouts of absence: 3 instances x 3 instances x 7 total days off = 63 Score.

What do the scores mean?

What does a score of 7, 28 or 63 mean? Essentially, the higher the score, the worse an employee’s attendance record is. In some cases, a Bradford Factor score higher than 900 could be used as justification for dismissal. Scores between 45 and 100 indicate serious absenteeism concerns and may require addressing.

  • Concern (BF 45): Sufficient days for a manager to show concern and advise on possible disciplinary should more absences occur during an identified period.
  • Concern (BF 100): Sufficient days for a manager to start disciplinary action (verbal warning, written warning, formal monitoring etc.).
  • Concern (BF 900): Sufficient days for a manager to consider dismissal.

Is the Bradford Factor legal?

Yes! However, it can only be used if the trigger points, when the person reaches a particular score, and the subsequent consequences of that trigger are deemed reasonable. For example, penalising an employee who has had several absences because of a disability might leave you liable to a discrimination claim

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About Natural HR

Natural HR is a cloud-based HR software company for growing businesses with 100+ employees. Since launching in 2010, we’ve been building a comprehensive suite of HR functionality that equips the small to medium-sized enterprise with everything needed to build an effective and efficient HR operation.