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Bradford Factor Reporting

Chronicle Bradford Factor

What is the Bradford Factor?

The Bradford Factor or Bradford Formula is used in human resource management as a means of measuring worker absenteeism. The theory is that short, frequent, and unplanned absences are more disruptive than longer absences. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development the term was first coined due to its supposed connection with research undertaken by the Bradford University School of Management in the 1980s. It was developed as a way of highlighting the disproportionate level of disruption of an organisation's performance that can be caused by short-term absences compared to single instances of prolonged absence.

How is it calculated?

The Bradford Factor is calculated as follows:


  • B is the Bradford Factor

  • S is the total number of spells (instances) of absence of an individual over a set period

  • D is the total number of days of absence of that individual over the same set period[2]

The 'set period' is typically set as a rolling 52-week period


For example, this is how 10 days absence could be shown:

  • 1 instance of absence with a duration of ten days (1 × 1 × 10) = 10 points

  • 3 instances of absence; one of one, one of three and one of six days (3 × 3 × 10) = 90 points

  • 5 instances of absence; each of two days (5 × 5 × 10) = 250 points

  • 10 instances of absence; each of one day (10 × 10 × 10) = 1000 points

  • 1 instance of absence; with a duration of one year (1 × 1 × 240) = 240 points

How is it used by companies?

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

  • 51 points – informal verbal warning

  • 201 points – formal written warning

  • 401 points – final written warning

  • 601 points – dismissal

Within Chronicle Online companies can define sick and absence reasons that do or don’t contribute towards Bradford factor and you can run your analysis over a definable date range.

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