If you’re off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask for medical evidence that you’ve been ill.

If you’re off work sick for more than seven days, your employer will usually ask you to provide proof that you’ve been ill. They will normally ask for a fit note from your GP. Fit notes may also be called medical statements or a doctor’s note.

The seven days includes days that you don’t normally work. When you work out how long you’ve been off sick, you should include weekends and bank holidays.

Sickness of seven days or less

Your employer 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.

Self-certification forms

Self-certification forms usually include details such as:

  • information about your sickness or illness
  • the date your sickness started
  • the date your sickness ended

These dates may be days that you don’t normally work. For example, your sickness could start or end on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday.

Many employers have their own self-certification forms. If your employer doesn’t have its own form, it may use an SC2 form from HM Revenue & Customs instead.

Sickness of more than seven days

If you’re sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will probably ask for proof of your illness. Most employers ask for a fit note from your GP.

However, this 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 to provide proof of illness or a fit note.

Fit notes and how to get one

A fit note must be signed by a doctor, such as your GP. Your doctor will assess you, and if he or she decides that your health affects your fitness for work, they can issue a fit note and advise that:

  • you are “not fit for work”
  • you “may be fit for work taking into account the following advice”

If you need a fit note, contact the surgery and speak to one of our receptionist.  If you have already seen a GP regarding your sickness we can complete a request form on your behalf which will be submitted to your GP.  Your GP will then produce and sign the Fit Note which then be ready for collection at the receptionist desk.  Please allow 48 hours from the time that you have requested the fit note to the time of collection.  If you have not yet seen a GP regarding your sickness, then please contact the surgery to arrange an appointment with your GP.

If you’re under the care of a hospital, your fit note may be issued by the hospital rather than your GP. If a hospital issues your fit note, it will always be a double-sided A5 handwritten fit note.

There is never a charge from an NHS doctor for providing a fit note if you’re off sick from work for more than seven days.

Charges for fit notes

Some employers may request a fit note from employees who repeatedly take time off sick, for example, even if each time they’re off work it’s for seven days or fewer.

For sickness of seven days or fewer, your GP practice may charge you to provide a fit note.

Please contact the surgery and speak with one of our receptionist if you would like any further information.