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Bradford Factor

(27 Posts)
Lonecatwithkitten Fri 29-Apr-16 09:04:58

I am interested to hear opinions on the Bradford factor from both employers and employees.
I think I am going to have to introduce it to manage 'culpable absenteeism. The level of odd day sickness is getting higher and I need a method of managing it that is clear and allows other staff to see that something is being done.

Only1scoop Fri 29-Apr-16 09:08:21

The company I work for use this and did so in full force as the main criteria for redundancies a few years ago.

Awful times.

chanie44 Fri 29-Apr-16 09:36:57

We use it. There was initial backlash, but everyone is used to it now. I stress that the system acts as an alert and that decisions are made sensibly.

lightcola Fri 29-Apr-16 09:43:54

I think its a great way to manage sickness. We use it for our staff across our different sites. It's a fair system.

thenewaveragebear1983 Fri 29-Apr-16 09:50:59

I had only two incidence of sickness in 6 years, other than pregnancy related which aren't included in the BF. Bo happened to be in the same year. One was a three week ulcerated throat infection. The other was a nasty bout of norovirus. In no way could I have attended work and taught when I had those, I was useless to everyone. Because of the length of the first, even though I was corectly signed off by Dr, and then the second, I was hauled over the coals for being over my sickness. This meant that when I suffer with hg in early pregnancy I had to tell my bosses earlier than I first wanted to because they threatened me with disciplinary over my sickness. So I'm not the biggest fan of the Bradford factor- its too impersonal, and if you're ill you're ill.

OllyBJolly Fri 29-Apr-16 09:55:07

I think it would be more effective to look at your employment engagement strategies rather than punishing what you see as "culpable absences".

If people aren't sick why are they absent? It will generally be because they are unhappy at work. That might be because they are poorly managed, struggling with workload, or all sorts of other reasons. By focusing on the Bradford factor and disciplinary action, you are tinkering with a symptom (with potentially severe consequences) rather than looking for the real problem.

Managers aren't qualified to judge whether absence is "genuine" or not, and I believe blanket absence management policies do way more harm than good. Better to concentrate efforts in making the workplace better.

ThisIslandGirl Fri 29-Apr-16 09:56:55

My workplace used it and predictably it wasn't popular amongst the staff.

One thing I did notice though was that my colleagues (not me!) started to calculate their Bradford Factor and work out when they would next be eligible for paid sickness leave and how many days and then just call in sick. Anything after this they seemed to view as 'unpaid days off' so because work weren't paying them for their absence they didn't 'owe them anything' and would just call in sick if they could afford a day off confused

WeAllHaveWings Fri 29-Apr-16 15:03:01

Old workplace used Bradford factor and if you reached a certain level your were refered to OHD, currently workplaces uses 3 strikes in 12 months and your are under review.

Not dissimilar, Bradford factor is just a tool for the company with no confidence in its polices to hide behind, its your policies on how you manage the employee whenever they breach whatever your set limit for time off is the bigger issue.

EBearhug Fri 29-Apr-16 23:19:16

My company uses it, as I found out a couple of months back when I triggered it. Just an unlucky year. My manager had never heard of the Bradford factor, and we had quite an interesting discussion about managing sickness, looking our for patterns like every Monday or something, and whether people need referring to OH or if it's a condition that would be covered by the Equality Act (about which he also doesn't seem to know much. I think managers should have an awareness of this sort of legislation.)

He complained about HR spying. I think it's a tool that is useful if used well, but there's the potential for abuse from Gittisham managers. I also think that given the totally pointless and demoralising micromanagement that goes on in our department, the Bradford factor is the least of our issues.

I was a little pissed off, because actually, my illness record is way, way better than some in the department and better than most. If HR are employing the BF, I hope they are also looking at over all patterns of sick leave in the department, including long term sickness

EBearhug Fri 29-Apr-16 23:21:38

...including long term sickness down to stress, because figures for the department as a whole probably should be ringing alarm bells in HR.

(Stupid phone.)

FuzzyOwl Fri 29-Apr-16 23:22:33

The problem with the BF is that those people who abuse sickness, will continue to do so regardless and because of the calculation they tend to stay off for longer.

You will also find that certain staff are very unwell as soon as their BF allows time off without triggering anything.

confusedandemployed Fri 29-Apr-16 23:26:29

It's a tool, as EBearhug says. IMO it should not be used in isolation, because HR (the clue is in the 'H') is not an exact science.

Anyway using BF as the sole criterion in sickness absence procedures bring the very real danger of disability discrimination.

But it can be very telling. As can many other practices.

hownottofuckup Fri 29-Apr-16 23:26:46

We used to have Bradford, now we're onto something else (can't remember the name of it) that makes Bradford seem rather forgiving.
But, I don't see what's wrong with it. Even if you do get called in for a review, it's just that, a review. Seems sensible really.

PausingFlatly Fri 29-Apr-16 23:43:08

Don't take my word for this, but I seem to remember from people's descriptions on here that Bradford Factor doesn't understand linked absences.

So it's hopeless for a member of staff with real illness who is gamely struggling on, because they'd score better if they took a solid chunk off rather than coming in, being unwell and going home. Ditto diligently coming in just for eg staff meetings during a period of poor health.

EBearhug Sat 30-Apr-16 09:13:59

So it's hopeless for a member of staff with real illness who is gamely struggling on, because they'd score better if they took a solid chunk off rather than coming in, being unwell and going home. Ditto diligently coming in just for eg staff meetings during a period of poor health.

It's based on the idea that a number of short absences are actually more disruptive and harder to manage than one long one. If you've got a chronic condition, this might be something which could be coveted by the Equality Act, so wouldn't count. If it's something like you've been seriously ill, and you are struggling to recover, that's still something you should discuss with your manager, so it can be managed - there may be options like a staged return. Not all workplaces manage this sort of thing well, though - and different types of work are not all able to have the same level of flexibility

PausingFlatly Sat 30-Apr-16 09:16:59

Thank you for explaining that, EBear.

This thread is making very clear that it's how the tool is used, that matters.

treaclesoda Sat 30-Apr-16 09:22:02

how that depends if your company use it for a review or they automatically discipline you. Years ago when the company I worked for used it, they didn't review, they disciplined. So when I had pneumonia and struggled back to work only to relapse a couple of days later, it was treated as two separate absences, even though I had been signed off by my doctor.

Staff who were in hospital for weeks after car accidents were disciplined. Staff who were undergoing chemotherapy were disciplined. It was horrific.

Meanwhile folk who rang in occasionally with hangovers didn't trigger anything at all. It was blatantly unfair.

Looly71 Sat 30-Apr-16 09:28:25

We use Bradford Factor along with 'return to work' interviews which I think have made a bigger difference in sickness rates. It's just one side of A4 asking for details of absence, whether a doctor was seen, whether absence was work-related in any way, whether there would be any ongoing issues etc.
This has to be completed by the member of staff with their mgr on day of their return. Even if they were only off for one day.
Ringing up to take a 'duvet' day isn't quite as appealing if you know you've got to have that conversation the next day. It's really reduced our 'repeat offenders'.

EBearhug Sat 30-Apr-16 09:29:45

Yes - with us it's definitely a review. It could lead to disciplinary action, if someone is clearly taking the piss, but I would have thought a good manager should already have an inkling there are issues there, if that's the case.

I think automatically disciplining people is madness, for the reasons mentioned above. It will do nothing to improve morale or engagement - and probably doesn't do much to improve attendance, because you'll get people who feel they might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. If you're going to get a bollocking anyway, you might as well make it worthwhile.

EBearhug Sat 30-Apr-16 09:37:29

We have to fill out now a form for every absence, with brief symptoms. Not sure whether it includes whether it's work-related. Must do sometimes, like colleague who was off work while his eye healed after catching it with a loose cable in the data centre. (I feel I should know more about what paperwork there is around these things, as I'm a first aider. ..)

ThatIsNachoCheese Sat 30-Apr-16 10:13:07

Do chronic illnesses that are covered by the equality act not count within the Bradford score then? Mine has been...

JustAnotherYellowBelly Sat 30-Apr-16 10:29:16

Afaik, under the Equality Act, time off for a chronic illness should be treated separately

treaclesoda Sat 30-Apr-16 10:32:31

The company I worked for made exceptions (because they were forced to, not because they wanted to hmm) for anything that would have been classed as a disability. I think the example they used to use was multiple sclerosis, where someone would have flare ups.

But they didn't make exceptions for ongoing illnesses that weren't classed as a disability eg if someone had a problem with recurrent migraines, or they had gallstones and suffered from repeated attacks.

EBearhug Sat 30-Apr-16 13:32:56

I thought things like migraines could be covered (obviously has to be declared, and may need letters from doctor etc.) But it could be one of those things which are good practice, but not a requirement.

confusedandemployed Sun 01-May-16 07:35:45

EBearhug is right. If you have a condition which is likely to last forever / indefinitely and it affects work (paraphrasing, can't remember proper terminology) then it could be termed a disability. As such employers have a duty to try to make "reasonable adjustments" for the employee to facilitate their working. Such reasonable adjustments are not specific and will depend on each case. E.g. someone who gets severe, debilitating migraines every six weeks may need regular time off when they strike. Someone who is depressed may not be able to function in the morning, so an arrangement to start later (and either work fewer hours or to finish later) could be put in place.
Of course it does depend on the size of the company as to what constitutes "reasonable adjustments" but a recent case has made it more difficult for a company simply to blame the cost of such adjustments as a barrier to putting them in place. They would need to factor in the cost of terminating the disabled person's contract, recruiting, training a new person...

So in such cases I can't see how absences due to a chronic condition / disability could properly be included in BF scores.

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