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Grandparent with baby care and sickness

(23 Posts)
MyLadyAnita Thu 11-Dec-14 14:12:35

Any employment or HR experts out there who can help?

How does the Bradford scale work?

I have had 4 episodes of having 1 or 2 days off sick (total days off this year of 7 working days but no period longer than 3 days when I was full of flu). All have been genuine cold and flu viruses which darling grandchild has shared with me. Sadly, my baby grandchild is a continuous virus and snot factory! My daughter has returned to work and I look after the baby to fit around my own part time job. It works well for us both as we can both work and we both need the money.

I had a return to work interview yesterday which told me I had a score of 90 plus on the Bradford scale and any further time off sick would result in disciplinary action. I was devastated as each time I have been genuinely ill and called in every day as required. I now cannot have another day off sick for the next 6 months.

Only 2 days of my sick time were paid. 5 days were unpaid and I did not qualify for SSP.

I have not defrauded the company in any way so am gutted to be told about my Bradford score.

I just need some kind words and reassurances as I am no spring chicken and I really love my job and am good at it. I would be gutted to be disciplined as I am a bit of a sensitive soul.

Any HR friends with advice (other than avoid the baby!)?

TwelveLeggedWalk Thu 11-Dec-14 14:14:47

I've never heard of it, but there's a WIki page which explains how it is calculated YOu could start of by checking they've got their facts/sums right?

MyLadyAnita Thu 11-Dec-14 15:15:46

Thanks Twelve. I had a look and it seems like it is better to have one long period of sickness rather than struggling back into work still feeling poorly.

Still puzzled though. All but two of my sick days (all genuine and evidenced as I phoned in each day off sick and I have friends who work there who saw how poorly I was) were unpaid. Surely they don't count towards Bradford calculations?

Am just feeling a bit yuk about it all xx

flowery Thu 11-Dec-14 18:44:29

Bradford calculates amount and frequency of sickness absence. Whether your employer pays you for some/any of that absence doesn't make any difference to either of those things.

Many organisations have trigger systems of this nature whereby a certain level of absence results in a disciplinary. Clearly that's a blunt tool and can result in genuine unavoidable sickness absence in otherwise hardworking staff being punished. But there's nothing unlawful about it.

Is your sickness absence policy clear about this type of thing?

HermioneWeasley Thu 11-Dec-14 21:37:22

Why would you think that genuine sickness absence wouldn't count? 4 episodes of sickness in approx 12 months is pretty high with no underlying health condition, and I think you work part time, so you would reasonably be expected to have fewer instances.

Small kids are germ factories. You need to consider whether this is really working for you.

MyLadyAnita Fri 12-Dec-14 15:17:57

Absolutely agree Hermione. Baby has shared bugs and snotty nose and temperatures and they hit me so hard I was unable to either look after baby or go in to work some days. I do 4 hours per evening for 5 evenings per week so do go to work every working day. It is part time feeling like full time!

I don't want to change jobs as I really like the work and team but I am really worried that my sick record is quite bad for the first time in my working life. The company are strict and I have seen my team mates in worse trouble than I am but I feel I am close to being on a disciplinary.

Bradford seems so unfair as I did struggle in when I felt a bit better only to be knocked back a month later with another baby bug gift!

GoodKingQuintless Fri 12-Dec-14 15:23:39

So you are the babys childminder in the day, and work 4 hours every evening?

Can you really not take nurofen and lempsip and manage 4 hours of work if you have a cold? Thats what most people do.

Or is it a case of the mum asking you to take time off to continue looking after child seeing as you are both poorly anyway?

MyLadyAnita Fri 12-Dec-14 15:54:31

Goodking - yes that is correct. Normally (with the rare colds I used to get) I would go into work with a cold and my sickness record to date has always been excellent. One job I had for 5 years in an office resulted in only 1 day off sick! I got this job earlier this year on the strength of my proven excellent record.

This time round it is constant temperatures and even vomiting (probably due to a temperature) as well as streaming headcold and hacking cough and no voice (not good as I am in a call centre).

I just hope it passes and I get back to my old self.

Meanwhile I am still trying to get my head around this Bradford score system of recording sickness. I would have been better going to the GP and getting signed off for a week or two. That seems so dishonourable when a cold only lasts 3 days or so and I struggled in as soon as the worst day was over.

Good old hindsight eh?! I am not one to work the system and I like to be honest but it has not worked for me this time.

flowery Fri 12-Dec-14 16:02:33

"I would have been better going to the GP and getting signed off for a week or two."

No, that's not how it works. For the same number of days off, several short absences would score higher than one long absence, because that type of absent is more disruptive.

But taking a longer period off for any of your individual absences wouldn't lower your score, it would increase it.

It sounds to me as though looking after a baby during the day and then working evenings isn't sustainable. It's not just the fact that you might catch things from the baby, it's that your susceptibility to illness will be increased by those hours and that pattern.

AgentProvocateur Fri 12-Dec-14 16:02:54

Bradford score is common for absence management, with a rating triggering further action. It's a blunt tool, but it does differentiate between who are off once for a major operation and those that call in sick every Monday.

It's often taken into account when deciding redundancies too.

ForTheLoveOfSocks Fri 12-Dec-14 16:18:46

It's basically the number of occasions off sick x number of days. It's designed to catch people who have frequent odd days off.

AgentProvocateur Fri 12-Dec-14 18:17:17

It's the number of occasions SQUARED x number of days. That's the crucial bit. So, OP, yours would be 4x4x7, which is over 100 - a common trigger point.

MyLadyAnita Sat 13-Dec-14 17:23:25

Thanks for all the advice. I can't change being ill but I do see now how this Bradford system of recording it has impacted on my work record.

So sad as I have to really consider whether I have the stamina or whether this will settle down and I have seen the las of the bugs!

flowery Sat 13-Dec-14 18:01:19

It's not the system of recording that has impacted on your record, it's the amount and frequency of absence that has done that. Your record has gone dramatically downhill from the 1 day off in 5 years you mention in your previous job.

Your record now isn't drastically bad or anything, but it is at a level where I think it's reasonable to raise a concern about it. I'm not a fan of automatic disciplinaries, but I am in favour of managers keeping on top of absence, noticing patterns and increases, and picking up on them fairly early on.

MyLadyAnita Sat 13-Dec-14 19:36:00

So, Flowery, if I try really hard, dose up and do not have another day off sick (everything crossed as heaven only knows I do not want to be off sick) when will I get back into good books at work and reduce my Bradford down to a level that will not trigger further action.
I need a goal to work to so help would be appreciated.
Meanwhile am off to the Chemists to stock up on lemsips and strepsils!

HermioneWeasley Sat 13-Dec-14 19:47:30

While I am a big fan of flowery I doubt she knows your company's policy and Bradford factor trigger scores. You need to have this conversation with your manager

flowery Sat 13-Dec-14 19:50:31


Yes, I have to hold my hands up, my knowledge does not extend that far I'm afraid.

Hermione is right OP, talk to your manager about what is expected.

FishWithABicycle Sat 13-Dec-14 19:54:03

Could you ask whether you could use Annual Leave for a sickness absence?

I certainly use annual leave when I need a day off work at no notice to look after a sick child and I don't believe this affects Bradford score - perhaps it could be used to cover ones own illness too - you can't help being ill when constantly exposed to snot factory germs.

Itsfab Sat 13-Dec-14 20:07:23

I don't get this. When you are genuinely ill you are ill. Is it because people are entitled to so many days off sick, paid, and people take them when not actually ill? In 15 years of working I had 2 days off sick so it hasn't had any impact on my working career.

MyLadyAnita Sat 13-Dec-14 20:47:55

Thanks all. I have my end of year review in the next week or so. I can hopefully be able to ask in a positive light at the right moment.

Fish - I am not sure about using annual leave as usually there is 3 weeks notice needed even for 1 day a/l. I could ask if desperate but I hope not to be off sick again!

Thanks everyone this has really helped.

SkyHighWhy Mon 15-Dec-14 23:46:41

Definitely check what criteria your company uses. Mine doesn't use Bradford - not officially anyway. But it counts things like number of occasions / number of days of sick in different periods, eg 3 months and 12 months. You can't actually plan when to be sick, of course, but the system should be transparent.

CaroleLJ Mon 22-Dec-14 10:50:57

The issue isn't about whether absence is genuine or not, it's a purely objective measure of episodes and duration of absence. Most companies would not allow the substitution of sick leave for annual leave.

All you can do is do your best not to be absent again. Absence is calculated on a 12 month rolling period so if you can create a bit of time with no absences then previous absences will drop off.

In my view it's a very cold and uncaring approach to management of employees' absence but sadly becoming more widespread.

maggiethemagpie Fri 26-Dec-14 20:02:12

It's nothing to do with whether the absence is genuine. It's absolutely to do with how much absence from work your employer can tolerate. It's common to use either the Bradford factor or a certain number of absences to trigger an absence review, which may or may not lead to disciplinary action.
Unfortunately the sad truth is that most employers will only tolerate a few absences in a year, so you have to learn how to work ill if you want to stay on the right side of them.
It's not that bad if you dose yourself up with nurofen and lemsip.

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