What is Bradford Scoring and How Can it Improve Attendance?

What is Bradford Scoring and How Can it Improve Attendance?

Bradford Scoring is a system of measuring absenteeism based on the length of absences as well as the number of absences. It was developed as a result of research conducted at the University of Bradford, which found that a number of shorter periods of absence were more disruptive to businesses than long periods of absence.

In order to take into account the number of periods of absence, researchers came up with the formula S x S x D = Bradford Score where:

S = The number of absence spells

D = The total number of days absent

This means that, even if you had the same number of days off as someone else, your Bradford Score heavily depends on the number of absence spells. For example, if one employee had 10 days off in a year all in one spell, their Bradford Score would be 1 x 1 x 10 = 10, whereas someone who had 10 days off over 4 spells of absence, their Bradford Score would be 4 x 4 x 10 = 160.

The added weighting to the number of spells allows employers to identify which employees are causing the most disruption. To use it, employers benchmark certain scores as points at which intervention is necessary. For example, at 50 points a verbal warning may be issued, at 200 points a written warning etc.

The benefit of using the Bradford Scoring system is that it provides a solid marker for all employees to be assessed against, meaning that managers cannot be accused of treating some employees preferentially, or for singling any one employee out. However, the problem with assessing all employees against the same measuring stick is that not all employees are the same. For example, an employee with severe asthma may need to visit the hospital several times a year for check-ups or treatment; it would be impractical to expect them to go outside of working hours for every visit, thus their Bradford Score will be much higher than an employee who has no health conditions. This can be countered by manually adjusting the benchmarks for that particular employee, but it still marks a fundamental flaw in the system.

The best way to implement the Bradford Scoring system would be to use it as a tool to highlight where there are staff problems rather than as an unbending rule where staff are dismissed without question once they reach a certain score. Where there are problems flagged up by the system, they should be addressed with a discussion to find the root of the problem and see what support the business can offer to employees who have a genuine reason for their absences.

For more information on Bradford Scoring, help with an issue, or to book a Free Review, call Jonny on 0844 8797286.

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