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Bradford Factor and age

(14 Posts)
Yukismydefaultposition Fri 19-Feb-16 12:53:41

Now that workers are staying on at work later and later in life is there a need to take age into account age when calculating the Bradford Factor for sickness absence.

Disability has a section relating to Bradford. Age is noted in the Equality Act as an area where discrimination is illegal but does this include the Bradford Factor if illness is due to age i.e. being worse affected by a chesty cough and needing time off work (whereas younger staff just come in and sneeze over everyone and groan all day at work).

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 19-Feb-16 12:58:34

I'd imagine it would be discriminatory, yes. If an individual feels. In general, I don't think that there's a difference in recovery rates between 25 year old and 50 year olds. If there's an individual difference, I think that would be taken into account with notes from a doctor.

OddBoots Fri 19-Feb-16 13:00:17

At what age would this kick in then? Is there evidence to back up your claims? It could equally be argued older pre-retirement people have a better adaptive immunity due to increased lifetime exposure to a range of pathogens.

iseenodust Fri 19-Feb-16 13:07:43

No. The Bradford factor is based on number of days taken off sick and is weighted by how short/long each period of sickness lasts. It is used because it is totally objective which you seem to be considering overriding...

HermioneWeasley Fri 19-Feb-16 14:05:53

I think you would struggle to prove that colds hit 50 year olds harder than 20 somethings.

Yukismydefaultposition Fri 19-Feb-16 16:48:19

This came up because we did some Equality and Diversity training last week and our group got into a bit of a debate. The government has removed previous set retirement ages so technically we can go on working until we drop. Someone asked how this works with measuring sickness, possibly discriminating against the old and frail and use of the Bradford factor.

I agree that the Bradford factor is an objective way to measure sickness, effective and fair and same for all. But when disability is addressed, why not age.

I am hoping for some wisdom so I can impress the group at the next training session.

FuzzyOwl Fri 19-Feb-16 16:56:49

Surely age is not a disability though. Some people might find that at 70 they cannot do things they used to do at 30. However, another person might find that only happens at 90 whilst a other finds it happens at 50. Age and your ability to do things is individual whereas everyone who has asthma, depression, or arthritis will have some element of a disability, even if it is on a scale.

Just because legally you can work until you drop, does not mean that a company cannot dismiss you on capability grounds. The EA might give you some protection but if a reasonable adjustment cannot be made to enable that person to be on a par with other workers, then their suitability for the job would be questioned.

Yukismydefaultposition Fri 19-Feb-16 17:21:34

It was not just whether there was age discrimination but whether there was gender discrimination too. Women have times in their lives when more vulnerable to odd days of sickness (pregnancy, heavy periods, menopause, hysterectomy). Does the Bradford Factor discriminate against the female sex as these could not relate to men?

iseenodust Fri 19-Feb-16 17:59:46

Ever heard of man flu ? Or as someone else said asthma? The Bradford Factor deals in hard facts but is not a tool to be used in isolation. It may trigger the need for a discussion, a referral to occ health, a need for a new chair for a bad back etc and that is where the risk of discrimination arises. When people and their subjective opinions enter the equation. wink

FuzzyOwl Fri 19-Feb-16 18:15:18

The Bradford Factor is designed to make sure people aren't pulling too many sickies and to make sure those people who are genuinely ill get the opportunity to have a meeting and make sure the relevant support is given. Some people with certain illnesses will have a different level that their Factor needs to reach before any form of disciplinary or meeting takes place.

Pregnancy related sickness is excluded from disciplinary action because it would otherwise be sex discrimination. There are some condition that only men suffer from but every individual case needs to be looked at on its own merit.

IpreferToblerone Fri 19-Feb-16 20:29:18

But the BF measures all absences ( excluding holidays) rather than just sickness absences eg 'had to take mother to hospital appointment' as more frequent absences / not planned are more disruptive to the workplace than long term absences.

flowery Fri 19-Feb-16 20:57:44

If a 25 year old and a 55 year old had similar absence records but an adjustment in the Bradford Factor to account for age meant that the 25yo was disciplined or even sacked but the 55yo did not receive similar treatment, I imagine the employer would see the unpleasant side of an age discrimination claim.

HermioneWeasley Fri 19-Feb-16 22:10:26

I am taking exception to the suggestion that women need more time off sick than men - we are already discriminated against because we have kids, do you really want the law to say that women can have a few days off every month for their periods?

Adgefox Sat 20-Feb-16 17:18:04

OP you are comparing one rigid and mathematicalmeasuring system with Equality & Diversity law which says we need to look at everyone in isolation and value their characteristics and abilities as unique.

I can see how they don't match.

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