An introduction to Staff Absence Management
It is often said that staff are your biggest asset, in any business. Therefore, it is essential that staff are made to feel valued, appreciated and supported. Having policies that underpin a caring environment can empower staff to invest more of themselves into that environment. From staff development to managing staff absences, it is important to be clear in policy work.
The Bradford Formula is an effective tool for identifying periods of absence, allowing employers to set triggers for concerns. Ideally, if you intend using the Bradford Formula, have it as part of a broader staff absence management policy and ensure that staff have access to the policy.
- Ensure compliance with national legislation. This includes The Equality Act 2010, The Disability Discrimination Act and The Data Protection Act. (See useful links at the bottom of this page)
- Consider Work - Life balance plans within policy, in order to get the best out of your staff. This may be hours of work, place of work, equipment, etc.
- Triggers and warning information for unsatisfactory attendance should include definition of a trigger, type of warning, and possible outcome for continued absences. Information on the use of the Bradford Formula could also be included in this section. Any exceptions to the rule should also be included, e.g. pregnancy related illness, disability related absence, etc.
- Have a clear policy on appropriate contact with staff who are off work due to sickness. This should include how staff report their absence, who should subsequently contact them, how regularly contact should take place and where it takes place.
- Staff Terms and Conditions should include a section regarding sick pay entitlements. A definition of period of sickness absence would be useful too e.g. does it also include staff who leave work during their shift?
- Include procedures for return to work, including what support mechanisms should be put in place, such as a formal return to work interview, workplace assessment in case of any temporary adjustments, are reduced hours of work necessary?, etc.
- Return to work procedures should also include information regarding unsatisfactory attendance. E.g. warnings, possible outcome for continued/increased absences.
- Where utilising the services of an Occupational Health Service provider, be clear about professional guidance and referrals. This should include what possible support your company will give to individuals requiring medical intervention to improve their chances of a return to the workplace or continued employment with your company and where medical retirement is supported.
- Include any appeal procedure, regarding an employee's termination of contract/dismissal due to poor attendance.
- Include any staff credit scheme you have for good attendance and efficient workers.
Please note this list is not exhaustive.
The Bradford Formula is a simple calculation (S2 x D = B) that increases the weighting of an absence period as more absences occur. S2 - Total number of absences squared X D - Total number of days absent = B - Bradford Score.
We recommend reviewing the following external resources for a greater appriciation of effective staff abscence management.
Bradford Factor Resources