Sick/Fit Note Certificates
If you are off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask you for a doctor's certificate.
You will need a medical certificate if you are off work sick for more than seven days. This 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 more than seven days
If you are sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will normally ask you to provide a medical certificate 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:
- ask your team leader or supervisor, or
- speak to someone from your human resources (HR) or personnel department
Doctors can only complete certificates for problems which are already in your medical records. For example, you may have spoken to a GP before, or you may have gone to a hospital. If this is a new problem which is not in your records, you will need to book an appointment to speak to a doctor.
When your fit note runs out
If your certificate runs out, but you are still sick, you will need to request an extension to your certificate.
The doctor may want to review you before they give you an extension. This will be in a routine appointment.
Fit certificates can be back-dated so it is not necessary to make an emergency appointment to for a fit note extension.
If you are off work sick for 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 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 their own form, instead they may use an SC2 form from HM Revenue & Customs Employee's Statement of Sickness. You can fill in this form online.
About fit notes
If you need a fit note, contact the healthcare professional treating you. This is often your GP, but if you are under the care of a hospital, the hospital should provide your fit note, for example after any operation you have.
If you have not seen a doctor at the practice and we have had no information from a medical professional about your illness, you will need to have an appointment before the GP can issue a fit note. Please book a routine appointment for this.
When you request a fit note, your healthcare professional will assess you, and if they decide your health affects your fitness for work, they can issue a fit note and advise either that:
- you are "not fit for work"
- you "may be fit for work taking into account the following advice"
Your healthcare professional will choose the "may be fit for work" option if they think that you are able to do some work, even if it is not your usual job, with support from your employer.
Discuss this advice with your employer to see if you can return to work. For example, the healthcare professional treating you may suggest possible changes, such as:
- returning to work gradually, for example, by starting part time
- temporarily working different hours
- performing different duties or tasks
- having other support to do your job. For example, if you have back pain, avoiding heavy lifting
If your employer is unable to accommodate the changes advised by a healthcare professional, then the fit note is treated as though it said "unfit for work".
Charges for fit notes
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. Please contact the surgery to discuss the charge for private certificates.