Understanding The Bradford Factor Score

Understanding the Bradford Factor Score as a tool to monitor absence can help an HR department to identify potential issues within their employee base.

The Bradford Factor score is a means by which Human Resources can monitor absence rates and set triggers for actions, such as discussions with employees concerned or communication to the employee’s manager.

In theory, a high number of shorter periods of absence is more disruptive to a business than fewer, longer periods of absence. Frequent short term absence is likely to start to arouse suspicion as to its authenticity. It’s important for a business to deal with this type of absence correctly and to send out the right message regarding improper use of absence days to its workforce.

The use of the score is at the discretion of an employer and can cause issues if used incorrectly. Setting an unrealistically low score or unfairly discriminating against certain staff with conditions (that may cause higher than usual short term absence) are some of the areas which should be given thought.

Care, consideration and proper planning should be undertaken prior to rolling out such schemes.

CIPHR automatically calculates this score for you and also offers the ability to set a ‘warning score’, including an automatic notification when viewing an employee’s record. For further information, please contact us.


The Bradford Factor calculation is based on absences within a 52 week period and is as follows:

E² x D = S

E = Episodes of absence
D = Total days absence within period
S = Bradford Factor Score

Example absences: 2 episodes of 3 days and 1 episode of 6 days in a 52 week period (total of 3 episodes and 12 days absence)

3² x 12= 108


If you don’t have CIPHR, but would like to build your own Bradford Factor calculator, then replicate the fields and copy the formula below into Excel:

bradford factor calculation

Alternatively, you can visit a Bradford Factor calculation site such as bradfordfactorcalculator.com.