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 on the HMRC website.

Evidence that you are sickWoman blowing nose

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)

The Health and Social Care Information Centre will collect weekly data extracts via the GP clinical system suppliers, commencing on or after Wednesday 27 January 2016. The data is being collected on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions to:

  • Undertake research analysis to inform policy relating to employment and sickness absence, including evaluation of the Fit for Work programme.
  • Help identify geographic level differences in return to work so that national and local providers can respond to provide appropriate services.

The data collected is anonymised data and, includes the type and duration of the fit note; recommendations for adjustments to enable a return to work; diagnostic codes; geographic area and gender.

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