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Bradford score being held against me

(11 Posts)
scampimom Fri 04-Nov-16 11:42:41

Got myself into a right state with worry. I had a number of 1-2 day absences over late last year and early this year. Then I had a minor injury and was off work for a couple more days. That triggered the Bradford score action. Had to have a meeting with HR where it was presented as a "How can we help you?" type thing, but was actually a threatening thing.

So, I've not been off sick for months, and then I got a flu-like illness. Kept struggling into work out of fear of the Bradford score getting worse and getting into more bother. But in the end I just got worse and worse and couldn't get out of bed. Went to see a doctor and they signed me off for a week.

Now I'm starting to feel better, but am terrified about going back to work, as this is sure to trigger a disciplinary. I feel I'm being victimised, and treated as if I'm not to be trusted, and that I'm swinging the lead. That's not true, but that's how I'm being made to feel. I'm definitely being a massive inconvenience, but you can't help being ill. I'm not doing it on purpose, but the Bradford score seems such a cold and impersonal and blunt tool and I feel so stressed and upset by my company's attitude. What makes it worse is that they're big on saying how pro-people they are, and how it's their people that are important and yadda yadda, but that's only true when they're healthy.

Anyone got any HR experience, what can I say? What can I do, if anything? Got myself onto a bit of a ledge here and need talking down.

StealthPolarBear Fri 04-Nov-16 11:45:18

I hope you're feeling better soon.
I think you just need to keep it factual and see what they have to say. You are not being victimised, but just as you can't help being ill, they can't help the fact they need people in to do the work (I assune). Hopefully they will be reassured that this was a run of bad luck.
If you do have any underlying conditions this is the opportunity to discuss them.

3luckystars Fri 04-Nov-16 11:50:13

Blunt tool is right.

I am not an expert but I think it works something like this : Number of absences x number of absences x number of days absence
So if you were sick 4 times for 2 days each that's 4 x4x2 so that's 32

If you were sick for one big block your figure would be less.
Its easy to get into trouble with it if you have a bad year.

I think it frightens a lot of people. If you are having anxiety because of it, I can totally understand that.

scampimom Fri 04-Nov-16 11:55:54

Yes, it penalises you for trying to limit the length of time you're off. It seems to be founded on the assumption that employees are basically untrustworthy, and uses its own score as "proof" that you are disruptive. And you can't prove otherwise, because you ARE being disruptive. I don't want to lose my job because of a stupid bout of flu!

ShowMeTheElf Fri 04-Nov-16 11:57:13

Bradford Factor triggers the system but it should not necessarily trigger disciplinary. It's really designed to give managers a away of formally keeping an eye on those who have Mondays off or get into a pattern of missed days, when they aren't particularly ill. Bradford factor is taken into account along with the number of days missed overall, the numbers with Drs notes, and other information of which your manager may be aware. You have been unwell, and this shows in your record and also in your previous scores over the last few years. It is a blunt tool, as it needs to be, but how it is used is up to your management.
Try not to worry. You have had genuine illness, have done everything right.

ShowMeTheElf Fri 04-Nov-16 11:59:10

Also it is a rolling score, so if it is high now because of a few odd days at the end of last year, your score will drop right down by Christmas!

scampimom Fri 04-Nov-16 12:31:40

Thanks, Elf, that's helpful. Yes - if I could've held off being ill for another couple of months, it would have been fine. I think our HR team are quite inexperienced and rely very heavily on tools like this rather than using judgement. And that scares me as well.

God, so anxious. Hate being in trouble.

FinderofNeedles Fri 04-Nov-16 17:11:03

What does your line manager think about it? It's not just up to HR.

HR will provide guidance and recommendations to your line manager along with outlining any support available to you, and options your line manager can use (regular reviews, or a phased return in the case of long absence, for example).

Our HR would be recommending a referral to Occ Health for you. HR and your line manager would draft a referral letter listing your recent absences along with the reasons, and ask OH to meet you, to help establish the answers to specific questions along the lines of, Does scampi have an underlying chronic health condition? If so, does it constitute a disability as defined by the relevant Act? Is scampi getting adequate support to resolve or manage the condition / illnesses (meaning, if you were prescribed medication are you taking it, if you were signed off to rest, did you actually stay away from work? etc), and are there any workplace adjustments required? If it's truly just bad luck then in our place no action would be taken against you. You would just be reminded that if your Bradford score is currently high and remains high then you could be subject to a written warning.

Mostly, OH want to find out about your health and wellbeing in general including your life outside work, and want to find ways to keep you at work.

If you don't have in-house OH then your company may have access to an external provider.

Hope you feel better soon and try not to worry (easier said than done, I know!)

HermioneWeasley Fri 04-Nov-16 19:37:20

Bradford factor doesn't penalise you for coming back early, it addresses the fact that frequent short term absence is more disruptive to a business than the same number of days over a shorter number of instances.

I'm sorry you've been unwell but it's right that the company explore why you're having higher than normal absence - do you have a health issue, a work issue, etc?

Ylvamoon Sat 05-Nov-16 01:10:27

IMPORTANT: whilst the company can apply any number of systems and disciplinarys/ "back to work interviews", you are not obliged to disclose any medical information. Unless it effects your ability to carry out your duties long term. - in which case, you should not be employed in the first place.
I think it's a way of monitoring short term absence and "getting to know your medical history". In my experience it don't pay to disclose anything medical unless it's man flu that you didn't want to pass on 😀
When my company introduced this system, within 12 months a few people who were regular off sick for 1-3 days lost their job (for unrelated reasons) .... strangely enough two had chronic conditions that where known to the company.
By the time I left, nobody with any sort of medical or otherwise (absence for children) was left.

EBearhug Sat 05-Nov-16 01:27:52

I triggered our system back in March or so. I don't feel at threat of a disciplinary - I had a chat with my manager, we agreed I had just had a bad run (delightful things like an abscess and a bad cold where I lost my voice.) I've not been skiving off with hangovers or drug problems, I've not been pulling sickies to attend job interviews nor because I feel bullied or otherwise so affected by my management or peers that I can't face going in. I don't have a chronic condition which might mean that they'd need to make adjustments if I make them aware of it.

However, I hope HR are also using it to look at overall sickness rates - my German colleagues have quite a high rate of minor illness, and I am of the opinion that it is partly down to low morale because of arsey managerial style there. They have also had a couple of people on long-term sick, hospitalisation and all, and German doctors do seem to sign you off for a week at the least sign of a sniffle. So maybe it's not viewed the same way there.

That's not really relevant - in summary, the Bradford factor can be used to show where staff need more support, but it can be used for disciplinary purposes. It's a tool, and like any other tool, its efficacy depends largely on the humans using it.

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