Seven days off sick or less
If you’re off work sick for seven days or less, your employer shouldn’t ask for medical evidence that you’ve been ill. Instead they 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 (SC2 form). Employers usually provide their own version of this form. Otherwise this form is on the UK Government website.
More than seven days off sick?
If you’re off work sick for more than seven days your employer will normally ask for a fit note (or Statement of Fitness for Work) from your GP or hospital doctor. Fit notes are sometimes referred to as medical statements or a doctor’s note.
How to count sick days: when you work out the number of days that you’ve been sick, you need to count all the days in a row you’ve been sick, including days you don’t normally work such as weekends and bank holidays.
How can I get a fit note?
If you are getting hospital treatment, ask for one from your hospital doctor. Especially if you were admitted as this should be provided by the hospital team.
If you need a fit note, otherwise contact us, and explain to reception what you think you need. If it is a NEW illness or problem we will need to assess you.
Please note that we cannot BACK DATE “sick notes” – unless we have evidence of you being unwell that day, or it is an ongoing problem. Therefore we may need to see you on that day or telephone you, so please discuss with the receptionist.
If we decide your health affects your fitness for work, we can issue a fit note and advise either that:
- you are “not fit for work”
- you “may be fit for work taking into account the following advice”
However if it is an ongoing problem or something that you have seen another registered health care professional about such as a nurse, physiotherapist, or occupational therapist we can often base your fit note on a report written by that registered healthcare professional. For example:
- a hospital discharge summary or hospital letter
- notes from a previous consultation with another GP at the same practice
May be fit to work?
Your doctor will choose the “may be fit for work” option if they think that you are able to do some work even if it not your usual job – with support from your employer. For example, your doctor may suggest possible changes, such as:
- returning to work gradually – for example, by starting part-time
- temporarily working different hours
- performing different duties or tasks
- having other support to do your job – for example, if you have back pain, avoiding heavy lifting
If your employer is unable to accommodate the changes advised by your GP then the fit note is treated as though it said “unfit for work”.
Charges for fit notes
There is never a charge from a doctor for providing a fit note if you’re off sick from work for more than seven days.
For sickness of seven days or less, your GP practice may charge you to provide a private medical certificate.
For example, some employers may request medical evidence from employees who repeatedly take time off sick, even if each time they’re off work it’s for seven days or less. A fit note cannot be used for this purpose and a doctor may charge to issue a private certificate.