Temporary Changes to Sick/Fit Notes

Employees can normally self-certify sickness absence for the first seven days. Temporarily, they can self-certify for 28 days, to enable GPs to focus on the COVID-19 booster programme and emergency care.

Employees eligible to receive statutory sick pay are not normally required to provide their employer with medical evidence to support sickness absence for the first seven days of absence. For longer periods of absence, they must obtain medical evidence (a fit note) from their GP.

In order to free up GP capacity to focus on the government’s current priorities for the NHS of delivering the coronavirus booster programme and emergency care, employees will not be required to provide their employer with medical evidence of sickness absence for the first 28 days of absence. GPs will still be required to supply fit notes for periods of absence exceeding 28 days. The Government guidance states-

“If an employee goes off sick on or after 10 December 2021, up to and including 26th January 2022, you cannot ask them for proof of sickness until they have been off for 28 days or more.”

This change takes effect from 17th December, but applies to absences beginning on or after 10th December 2021, up to and including absences which begin on or before 26 January 2022. The self-certification period will revert to seven days for absences beginning on or after 27th January 2022.

For further information, please see