17 Aug 2018

Scoring system for sick days 'dubious legally, morally'

1:33 pm on 17 August 2018

A scoring system to measure absenteeism at the New Zealand Police and New Zealand Steel is being labelled as discriminatory by an employment lawyer.

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Photo: 123RF

Police emergency communication employees have told RNZ, staff are too scared to call in sick, because a poor Bradford Score will affect advancement opportunities.

The Bradford Score is a formula used by police, which allows managers to monitor absenteeism during a set period.

According to E tū Union, New Zealand Steel staff have reported taking annual leave when they are unwell, due to the Bradford Factor also being used in their work place.

Employment lawyer Barbara Buckett criticised use of the tool.

"It is singling out people, it's being used to restrict career advancement, all those things suggest to me in a holistic sense, it's very dubious legally, as well as morally," she said.

Ms Buckett said it also raises health and safety risks.

"If this system is causing people who are ill to come to work because of fear then that really has some really dubious legal aspects to it as well, it's also obviously discriminatory against disability, which includes physical illness" she said.

She was surprised the police were using it and for an improper purpose.

"They're obliged by law to be a good employer and they're using a system that's rather outdated - it's been widely criticised and denigrated," she said.

But Central Communications Centre relieving operations manager Inspector John Spence earlier said the score worked as an indicator.

"If for some reason the score becomes very high, we can restrict overtime to ensure the employee is not being overworked and is getting enough rest and recreation."

When asked if it would affect advancement training, he said police would not want to place additional pressure on the employee.