If you are off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask you for a doctor's certificate however they can ask you to complete a form called a self-certification form. It is important to remember that the the seven days include days that you don't normally work such as weekends and bank holidays.
Self-certification forms usually include details such as:
Many employers have their own self-certification forms. If your employer doesn't have their own form, instead they may use an SC2 form from HM Revenue & Customs – Employee's Statement of Sickness.
If you are sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will normally ask you to provide a medical certificate (MED3) from your GP.
When you need a certificate 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 a note.
To find out about your employer's policy:
'Fit Notes" are another name for sickness certificates. They are also sometimes called doctor's notes, sick notes, medical certificates or doctor's statements.
A fit note must be signed by a doctor and can give you advice to help you return to work. This is because work can play an important part in helping people to recover from illness or an injury.
The GP can either state you are 'Not fit for work', or you 'May be fit for work'.
The GP will choose the option may be fit to work if they think that returning to work – with support from your employer – will help you. There is space for the GP to give your employer information about the impact of your illness and injury and recommend ways your employer can help you return to work. Examples of simple suggestions might be to return temporarily to altered or reduced hours, or to lighter duties.
You may not need to book an appointment to get a sick note if you have seen already seen a doctor regarding the problem you need a medical certificate for (or we have received a letter from the hospital about your sickness). Please discuss this with reception who will forward the request to your usual GP. Please allow at least 2 working days for these requests. You may still be asked to book an appointment or the doctor may telephone you.
Certificates to cover operations or hospital stays will be issued by the hospital team, not by the GP.
We are no longer required to provide certification to confirm you are fit to return to work.
There is usually no charge for providing a fit note if you are off sick for more than seven days.
Some employers may request a fit note (e.g. from employees who repeatedly take time off sick) even if they are off work for seven days or less. This is a private non-NHS medical certificate.
For sickness of seven days or less, a charge of £10 is payable in order for us to provide a private certificate.
If your certificate runs out, but you are still sick, you may need to consult the doctor again before you can get a further certificate. Please call reception who will advise you whether you need a telephone or face to face consultation.
Fit certificates can be back-dated so it is not necessary to make an emergency appointment to renew your certifiate. If you attend an emergency appointment for the purpose of getting a medical certificate you will be asked to rebook.