WORKPLACE RELATIONS SPECIALISTS 
Accurate measurement and monitoring, identifying trends and exploring the underlying causes are key elements in effective absence management. 
 
There are different ways of measuring time lost: 
 
‘Lost time’ rate 
This measure expresses the percentage of total time available which has been lost due to absence. It can be calculated separately for different departments to identify areas of concern. 
 
Total absence (hours or days) in the period x 100 
Possible total (hours or days) in the period 
 
Frequency rate 
This measure shows the average number of absences per employee expressed as a percentage. It gives no indication of the length of each absence period or any indication of employees who take more than one spell of absence. 
 
No of spells of absence in the period x 100 
No of employees 
 
The calculation gives an individual frequency rate by counting the number of employees who take at least one spell of absence in the period, rather than the total number of spells of absence. 
 
Bradford Factor 
By measuring the number of spells of absence, the Bradford Factor identifies persistent short-term absence for individuals and is therefore a useful measure of the disruption caused by this type of absence. It's calculated using the formula: 
 
S x S x D 
 
where S = number of spells of absence in 52 weeks taken by an individual 
and D = number of days of absence in 52 weeks taken by that individual. 
 
For example: 
 
10 one-day absences: 10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000 
1 ten-day absence: 1 x 1 x 10 = 10 
 
5 two-day absences: 5 x 5 x 10 = 250 
2 five-day absences: 2 x 2 x 10 = 40 
 
It should be noted that the use of Bradford Factor scoring can be controversial and care should be taken when using this as a guide to identify issues with an employee’s absence record. The Bradford Factor can unfairly penalise employees who fall ill and then come back to work as quickly as possible. The reasons for an employee taking frequent periods of absence should be discussed with the employee before any disciplinary action is taken. The Equality Act 2010 ensures that processes and procedures related to absence are adjusted for employees with a disability. A person’s disability may predispose them to regular short-term absences, and this could potentially lead to tribunal action if the employee was unfairly disciplined as a result of receiving a high Bradford Factor score. 
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Tagged as: Absence Management
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