Fit notes now required after 28 days, not 7
To support the current burden on GPs as they provide support with the COVID-19 vaccine programme, new temporary measures relating to the certification of sickness absence have been put in place by the government.
The amount of time an employee can self-certify their sickness absence for the purposes of the payment of Statutory Sick Pay i.e. without providing medical evidence, has increased from the current 7 consecutive calendar days to 28 consecutive calendar days (including non-working days, such as weekends and bank holidays).
This temporary measure relates to any period of sickness starting on or after the 10th December 2021, up to the 26th January 2022.
We appreciate that this new measure has the potential to make it more difficult for employers to manage short term sickness absence. During this period, employers should ask their employees to continue to follow normal absence reporting procedures and agree with their employees how often during their absence they should be in contact with Company.
If an employee is absent for less than 28 days, on return to work an employer can ask an employee to confirm they have been off sick (self-certify) by either asking them to attend a return-to-work interview, completing an appropriate form or sending the details via email.
Please note these temporary changes to certification requirements only extend to England, Wales and Scotland.
If you need any advice in relation to managing sickness absence, please get in touch.