EVERYONE becomes sick now and again – but what are your rights when it comes to taking a day off?
Here is all you need to know about sick notes, when you need them and how long you can have off before they’re required.
When do you need a sick note?
A sick note – now referred to as Statements of Fitness for Work or “fit note” – is required by your employer when you have spent a significant time away from work due to illness or injury.
They are designed to prevent people claiming pay and taking time off working when they are not actually ill.
Support is available for those who are signed off work due to illness or a health condition on the Fit for Work website.
They can also design a return to work plan on the site to help with reintegration after a long time away.
Statistically, the day when more people call in sick than any other is National Sickie Day
How many days off can you have before you need a doctor’s note for work?
Official advice from the NHS is that you shouldn’t need to provide a doctor’s note until you’ve been off work for more than seven days.
On its website, it says: “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.”
Plenty of companies have their own self-certification form, but if not you can download a template created by HM Revenue and Customs here.
Once you have been ill for more than seven consecutive days (including weekend days, bank holidays or days you wouldn’t usually work anyway) you will need to provide your employer with a sick note.
How do you get a sick note from a doctor?
If you need a “fit note” make an appointment with your local GP.
They will assess you and decide if you are in a healthy condition for work or not.
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If they deem that you are “not fit for work” they will write a note to that effect that you can present to your employer.
They may think that you “may be fit for work taking into account the following advice”, under which circumstances they would layout circumstances or changes to your usual working routine that would allow you to perform your job – or some variation of it.
If your employer is unable to accommodate these conditions, the note is considered to say “unfit for work”.