Could the Bradford factor help your business to reduce staff sickness?

Lady ill at computer

Keeping track of your employees’ attendance is a vital part of operating an agency or other business. When your workers are frequently absent, this can have ramifications on your business’s bottom line. 

Indeed, a survey reported by Chron shows that poor employee attendance can add to the workload of other co-workers, which can decrease overall productivity. 

A fantastic way to realise how these unplanned absences affect your business is by using the “Bradford factor”. This is essentially a formula that helps you identify patterns in absences so you can establish when your employees need additional support.

So, continue reading to learn precisely how the Bradford factor works, and how it could help you better support your employees. 

The Bradford factor helps you track your employees’ unplanned absences

The Bradford factor is simply a formula that enables you to keep track of and measure unplanned staff absences in your business. 

These unplanned absences include: 

The Bradford factor is designed on the premise that unplanned short-term absences, such as those listed above, are more disruptive for your business when compared to long-term ones, such as planned holidays.

While the Bradford factor does track unplanned absences in your business, it’s important to note that it shouldn’t be used to discriminate against employees. In fact, it is best used to identify when you may need to step in and support your workers. 

The Bradford factor uses a simple formula that assigns each employee a weighting

With the Bradford factor, you calculate a score using the number of days someone on your team is absent, and the number of periods of absence in total throughout the year. This gives you a numerical weighting that can be used to identify patterns.

Then, when you have a score for each of your employees, you can understand how these absences affect your business. 

To work out the Bradford factor for your employees, you should use the following formula:

In the above formula:

The “Bradford factor” portion of the formula provides a handy benchmark to assess your employees’ absence records.

It’s important to note that the Bradford factor does not consider specific factors, such as disabilities or illnesses that cause sporadic absenteeism.

To give an example of how the Bradford factor is used practically, imagine you have two employees: “A” and “B”. You want to measure their relative sickness absences over a year.

Employee A fell ill in June and was absent for 10 straight days. 

Meanwhile, employee B was absent on three separate occasions, in March, August, and October and was absent for a total of 10 days. 

Their Bradford scores would look as follows: 

In the above example, employee B’s multiple absences would, in theory, be more disruptive to your business than employee A’s, even though they both had the same number of days off in total. 

After scoring your employees, you can then use a heat map to obtain a visual overview of scores and weightings. 

The above heat map, sourced from a Bradford factor calculator, gives an example of the sort of chart a company could use to assess its employees’ absences. 

The smaller table above the main heat map shows the scales that could be used to assess employees. In this example, they are:

Of course, the above heat map is only an example; different companies will apply varying thresholds to Bradford scores, and these scores aren’t an indicator as to how “good” or “bad” an employee is. 

The Bradford factor helps you determine when your employees need additional support

One of the most significant benefits of using the Bradford factor is that it helps you identify employee absence patterns. With this knowledge, you know when to step in and have a meeting or conversation with that person to better understand why they’ve been absent. 

After all, regular unplanned absences can affect your agency or business’s bottom line. 

You should keep in mind that the Bradford factor should be used as a measuring tool that informs you whether a discussion about absences needs to be held. This is because the formula lacks nuance and doesn’t have the capacity to weigh different types of absences. 

For instance, a simple day off work due to a cold will be treated the same as a severe illness, a family tragedy, or even a disability.

As such, employees’ Bradford scores are generally used to indicate when individuals need help and support, as you never know what is happening behind closed doors.

Non-appearance insurance could provide an additional level of protection

A fantastic way to protect your business from critical absences that would have ramifications on your business is “non-appearance insurance”. As the name suggests, this protects important events dependent on an individual’s attendance, such as a key speaker, artist, or performer.

Your non-appearance insurance would cover you if your event had to be cancelled due to the important individual not attending. This could cover scenarios such as:

This could be especially useful for creative businesses, such as a photography company that would be affected if someone didn’t attend a photoshoot.

Get in touch

If you’d like to know more about the types of insurance you could take out to protect your business from the impact of staff absences, we can help.

Please email us at or use our contact form to request a callback from our team. 

Posted: March 17, 2023 | Categories: News

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