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Bradford score - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by powerpack67, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. powerpack67

    powerpack67 New commenter

    Just wondered what the communities thoughts were on the Bradford score?

    (For those wondering....
    Six days of absence in the last year will give different scores, depending on the number of absences:

    • One spell of sick leave would equate to 1(S) x 1(S) x 6(D) = 6 points
    • Two spells of sick leave would equate to 2(S) x 2(S) x 6(D) = 24 points
    • Three spells of sick leave would equate to 3(S) x 3(S) x 6(D) = 54 points.
    All these cases involve a total of six days total absence, but where there were three occasions of sick leave, the score is significantly higher; cases of this nature may prompt formal managerial action quicker than otherwise.)

    This system is in operation at my college and I think it is very unfair, no accounting for the unexpected problems life can throw up. Be interested in other colleagues experiences of it?
  2. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    In general, repeated short time absences are more of an issue for an employer than long, one off sicknesses. If an employer is using the Bradford score then they do need to take into account the specific circumstances of the absence like they have to do, legally, for pregnancy absence.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I've just come off monitoring for A Big Bradford. The mistake I made was trying to be helpful. I came back from a kidney infection that hospitalised me but realised it was too soon so it counted as two episodes. I did the same thing after a knee op - I was fine at home but sitting for 8hrs with my leg on a box was just too painful. Throw in the day someone crashed into my car and left me shaken and having to wait about for the insurance people to collect my car, plus a dose of cystitis subsequent to the kidney prob, and another day off because the antibiotics made me vomit and come out in a rash, and I'm the world's worst employee.
    My colleague had four months off last year but since it was 2m for a hip replacement and 2 for breaks to both arms when she slipped in the ice, she is golden.
  4. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    It is designed to catch out the 'its Friday/Monday, sod it day off type flakers, with pregnancy say they may need to accommodate this.
  5. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    Frequent short absences cost the school more as they usually have insurance in place for longer periods of absence. So 6 days of absence spaced out over the term incurs a cost of 6 days supply. However, 6 consecutive days of absence may only incur a cost of 2, 3 or 4 days supply coming from the school budget, depending on the policy purchased. Multiply this by many staff over the year and it can add up to quite a lot of money therefore schools have to monitor it quite closely.
  6. KarenSomes

    KarenSomes New commenter

    It does seem particularly unfair for those that try and rush back, or muddle through any ailments. Almost rewards you for taking a big chunk of time off in one fell swoop.
  7. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Surely the first stage of formal managerial action is to summon you to a meeting to talk about it. In the meeting you'd get a chance to explain the absence and also a chance to discuss if anything is needed either from you or from your employer to help minimise future absence. The answer might be yes, or the answer might be no, but the main thing is that it has been aired.
    I'm not really sure what is "unfair" about that?
    fwiw I know of some schools who disregard the Bradford Score and simply run such a meeting, albeit a brief one, after every absence.
    I find it hard to work out from your post if you'd consider this more or less fair.
    Whichever, you'd certainly find it more onerous.
  8. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    No system is perfect in my opinion, but I can see how 6 isolated odd days is more problematic than 1 6 day absence.It's designed to pick up on those who take odd days here and there.

    Common sense says if you're not fully better from a bout of illness then you remain off until better and then return. Returning when unwell, being off again and then complaining about a meeting seems to be a bit silly to me. People should put their health first.
  9. powerpack67

    powerpack67 New commenter

    If you don't mind me asking, what was your score and how was it dealt with? I assume the monitoring was over a 3 month period and first offence etc?
  10. powerpack67

    powerpack67 New commenter

    Was told I have a score of 450 and a meeting has been arranged plus OH. Any ideas on likely outcome?
  11. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    That's incredibly unfair from your employers.

    I had three incidents of absence when I had a tooth abscess.

    I went to the docs, he told me it was an ear infection. I was given antibiotics and took two days off.
    Obviously, the pain came back because it wasn't an ear infection. I went back to the docs, again he told me it was an ear infection - that's another two days off.
    When my jaw had swollen up in the night and I was in a fair amount of pain I took two days off - one of those was at the dentist, the other was staying in bed moaning and groaning.

    My work place, being pretty reasonable, put it down as the same absence as it was caused by the same issue.
    agathamorse and FrankWolley like this.
  12. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Any system like this, which relies on rigid formulae, is going to throw up problems when there really is nothing wrong. Whether this is unfair or not depends on whether management look fully into the reason for the absences. If they are explainable, then no further action should be taken.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I don't know. There were 7 separate episodes of absence in a rolling year, that's apparently what triggered it. I only work 2 days a week so saying I was ill for 2 weeks is only 4 days. They divide the days by the episodes.
    I was told if I had one more day off in the next 3 months, I'd be referred to A Panel. As it played out, I had a strep throat infection and laryngitis but dragged myself into work. I share a windowless office with 4 people and the only ventilation is aircon. They were not pleased to see me, and the following week, they'd all caught it.

    I haven't paid a lot of attention to the details because I'm retiring in the summer anyway. I'm not telling them because they've tried to do other colleagues out of summer holiday pay. I'm not teaching, so will show up in September and work my 3 wks notice, then depart. :D:D:D
    agathamorse and StealingBiscuits like this.
  14. Alceanne1

    Alceanne1 Senior commenter

    My workplace gave up the BF after having it in place for about 10 years. Yes, it catches the frequent non-serious trends, but it caused too many issues for managers defending line managers against unfairness in case where the factor became enormous due to perfectly genuine sickness.
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    A score of 450 is pretty high, so I can understand your being asked to come to a meeting. Either you had a very long spell of absence, meaning a meeting with SLT and OH would be expected, or you have had an unusually high number of 'unexpected problems life can throw up' and again it isn't unreasonable for SLT and OH to want to meet and see what can be done to reduce this.

    Whatever way your employers use to monitor absence, yours is clearly going to show as fairly high. Whether this is reasonable and explainable or not is for you and your employers to thrash out. It isn't the scoring that's the problem, more the absence.
    Piranha likes this.

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