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.
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.
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