Workers can now take 28 days off sick without a doctor’s note

Workers can now take 28 days off sick without a doctor’s note

With most people spending time with their families over the festive period, the UK Government is preparing for a significant rise in Covid related illness and subsequent hospital admissions. They have therefore amended the process for an employee to take sick leave from their employment.

Current rules

Currently, if an employee is sick, they are not required to provide a fit note if their absence is less than 7 days as they can self-certify instead. From the 8th day, they will need to obtain a fit note from their GP following an assessment of their fitness for work.

It is expected that once the temporary changes to self-certification end, we will revert to the 7-day self-certification requirement.

Updated rules

The updated rules regarding fit notes will only be implemented temporarily with the aim of reducing the burden on GPs and the NHS. The updated rules are in relation to SSP only and employers can still request evidence of incapacity if their company sick pay scheme requires this.

Under the new rules, employees will no longer need to seek GP certificate after 7 days of illness, however, this will only apply to periods of sickness between 10 December 2021 and 26 January 2022 inclusive. The new rules mean that the period for self-certification is temporarily being extended to 28 days.

The temporary changes mean that during the first 28 days of any sickness, an employer will not be able to ask for proof of sickness.

Fit notes will not need to be provided for benefit claims until 27 January 2022 however the changes will not affect any benefits claims.

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