What is the Bradford Factor?

Bradford Factor definition

Also known as the Bradford Formula, the Bradford Factor is a way to standardise and measure absenteeism. The underlying theory behind the Bradford Factor is to judge the relative cost of absenteeism through the belief that short, unplanned absences are more disruptive than longer-term, planned absences.

The formula used to produce a score is: B = S² x D.

  • B = the Bradford Factor score
  • S = the number of separate absences over a defined period of time
  • D = the total number of days of absence over the same defined period of time

Use of the Bradford Factor is controversial as it can penalise staff who fall ill and come back to work as quickly as possible. In the UK under the Equality Act 2010, employers must tailor procedures and processes to a disabled person’s individual circumstances. The Bradford Factor could potentially lead to tribunal action as the nature of a person’s disability may predispose them to regular short absences, which the Bradford Factor would highlight.