Sick Notes

Update on sick/fit notes in light of Coronavirus:

By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. This does not need to be fit note (Med 3 form) issued by a GP or other doctor.

“Your employee will be advised to isolate themselves and not to work in contact with other people by NHS 111 or PHE if they are a carrier of, or have been in contact with, an infectious or contagious disease, such as COVID-19.

“We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to stay at home due to suspected COVID-19, in accordance with the public health advice being issued by the government.

Please see the general advice below along the same lines:

Sick Notes, or ‘Fit Notes’ as they are now called, are only needed by employees from their doctor after 7 consecutive days of sickness absence from work. An employer cannot demand a sick note from an employee’s doctor if the period of sickness has not reached 7 days.

In order to help clarify the rules regarding sick notes we have drafted a letter regarding short term sickness – see link below. If they wish to do so, patients can give a copy of the letter to their employer which explains the rules regarding short term sickness.

Letter to Employers re Fit Note Guidelines

Fit notes and proof of sickness

Employees must give their employer a doctor’s fit note if they’re off sick for more than 7 days in a row (including non-working days).

The fit note will say the employee is either ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work’.   If it says the employee ‘may be fit for work’, employers should discuss any changes that could help the employee return to work (e.g. different working hours or tasks). The employee must be treated as ‘not fit for work’ if there’s no agreement on these changes.


An employer can ask an employee to self-certify their sickness on their return to work if it has been for a period of less than 7 days.  This is called ‘self certification’.  Some employers have their own self certification forms but if not there is a standard HMRC self certification form that can be used– see link below.

Self Certification Form

A sick note for an illness of less than 7 days is a Private Sick Note and there is a charge for providing this. See list of Fees for Chargeable Work for the fee.

For more information about sick notes and self-certification please see the information on taking sick leave on the DWP Web-Site by clicking on this link Taking Sick Leave