Sickness Certificates

You do not require a doctor’s sickness certificate for any illness lasting seven days or less. Your employer may however require you to complete a self-certification form (SC2) which is available from your employer or at our reception or on the hmrc website.

GPs should not be asked to issue a certificate for a period of sickness which does not require the issuing of a ‘fit note’; a ‘fit note’ is required if an employee is off sick for more than 7 consecutive days. If your employer requests a note from your GP, and you have not been off work for more than 7 days, please download this letter and present it to your employer.

Evidence that you are sick
If you are sick for more than seven days, your employer can ask you to give them some form of medical evidence to support payment of SSP (statutory sick pay).

It is up to your employer to decide whether you are incapable of work. A medical certificate, now called a ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ (see below) from your doctor is strong evidence that you are sick and would normally be accepted, unless there is evidence to prove otherwise.

You could also provide evidence from someone who is not a medical practitioner, e.g. a dentist. Your employer will decide whether or not this evidence is acceptable. If your employer has any doubts, they may still ask for a medical certificate from your GP.

Please note if you need a follow up Statement of Fitness for Work after the initial statement is issued, this can only be done by your usual doctor or the original issuing doctor, if this is a different doctor. The issue of a follow up Statement of Fitness for Work is not an urgent matter and often it will not be possible to issue the statement on the same day as the request. It can take 3 – 7 working days for a further Statement of Fitness for Work to be issued.

Statement of Fitness for Work – ’Fit Note’
The ‘fit note’ was introduced on 6 April 2010. With your employer’s support, the note will help you return to work sooner by providing more information about the effects of your illness or injury.
For more information see the Direct Gov website (where this information was sourced).

Do I need a note saying I’m fit for work?
No. You do not need to see your GP again to be ‘signed back to work’.

Unlike the sick note, the fit note does not have an option to say that you are fit for work. If your GP wants to assess your fitness for work again, they will state this on your fit note.

Discussing your fit note with your employer
If your doctor has indicated that you ‘may be fit for work’, the fit note will give your employer the information needed to begin a discussion on whether you can return to work.

If it is possible for you to return to work, agree:

  • How this will happen
  • What support you will receive and for how long
  • How your pay may be affected if you return to work on different hours or duties

Sometimes it may not be possible for your employer to make the changes required to help you return to work. If this is the case, you will not be able to return to work until you have further recovered. You can use the statement as if your doctor had advised you were ‘not fit to work’. You will not need to see your doctor for a new fit note.