If you're off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask for medical evidence that you've been ill.
If you're off work sick for more than seven days, your employer will usually ask you to provide proof that you've been ill. They will normally ask for a fit note from your GP.
The seven days includes days that you don't normally work. When you work out how long you've been off sick, you should include weekends and bank holidays.
Sickness of seven days or less
Your employer can ask you to confirm that you've been ill. You can do this by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.
Self-certification forms usually include details such as:
- information about your sickness or illness
- the date your sickness started
- the date your sickness ended
These dates may be days that you don't normally work. For example, your sickness could start or end on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday.
Many employers have their own self-certification forms. If your employer doesn't have its own form, it may use an SC2 form from HM Revenue & Customs.
Sickness of more than seven days
If you're sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will probably ask for proof of your illness. Most employers ask for a fit note from your GP. There is no charge for the original, but duplicate copies will be subject to a fee - please ask at reception for details.
However, this will also depend on your employer's company policy on sick leave (or sickness absence). This policy should tell you how many days you can be off sick before you need to provide proof of illness or a fit note.
Charges for fit notes
Some employers may request a fit note from employees who repeatedly take time off sick, for example, even if each time they're off work it's for seven days or fewer.
For sickness of seven days or fewer, you will be charged a fee for a fit note. Please ask at reception for further information.
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.
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 DirectGov website (where this information was sourced)