How to Calculate Bradford Factor

Craig Hynd |


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Lots of HR professionals use the Bradford Factor method to work out the overall impact of absence on their company.

What is the Bradford Factor?

The Bradford Factor (also known as the Bradford Formula or the Bradford Index) is a simple formula that allows companies to apply a calculated score to unplanned employee absences. It is an industry-standard method used to measure worker absenteeism.

The score is applied on a 12-month rolling period, and is a good indicator of employees who take a number of short absences compared to those who have longer periods of absence.

Short-term absences tend to cause more problems for managers than long-term ones. Managers can more easily arrange for temporary cover or reschedule tasks for long-term or planned absences than they can for short-term, spontaneous absences.

How is the Bradford Factor calculated?

The Bradford Factor formula is:

BF = (S x S) x D

“BF” is the Bradford Factor score

“S” is the number of sickness episodes (spells or instances) of absence for the individual

“D” is the total number of days the individual has been absent (duration)

A limited selection of HR software can automatically calculate Bradford Factor scores. Youmanage can calculate this for you.

Bradford Factor example

Two employees – David and Melissa – have been absent for five days each. However, David has had five separate episodes, and Melissa has had only one period of absence. Therefore, the Bradford Factor scores for each employee are as follows:

David: (5 x 5) x 5 = 125

Melissa: (1 x 1) x 5 = 5

As you can see, Melissa has a lower Bradford Factor score than David. This is a great example of how the Bradford Factor can identify the difference between employees who take short, frequent, unplanned absences and those who are absent for longer periods.


Youmanage allows you to set up triggers to show if an employee has exceeded a specified Bradford Factor score. You can define the factor scores that will trigger an outcome.

All organisations have different requirements when setting triggers for absence, but the following table shows an example of how triggers can be set and possible outcomes for each level.

Image of table showing bradford factor triggers

What does a low or high Bradford Factor score mean?

A low Bradford Factor score suggests that an employee’s absence had a low impact on the business.

For example, if Mary is absent for one episode of three concurrent days in a year, her Bradford Factor score would be:

(1 x 1) x 3 = 3

A Bradford Factor score of 3 would indicate a low level of impact on the business, and falls within the first trigger band in the table above.

A high Bradford Factor score suggests that an employee’s absence is having a negative impact on your business.

If Gary is absent 12 times in a year for one day each time, his Bradford Factor score would be:

(12 x 12) x 12 = 1,728

A score of 1,728 indicates that Gary’s absence has had a very high impact on your organisation.

If you’d like some further information about how Youmanage can help automatically calculate Bradford Factor scores for your organisation, then please get in touch with our friendly team!

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