The rules on fit notes were changed on a temporary basis on 17th December. So, for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), where employees go off sick on or after 10 December 2021, employers can only ask employees for proof of sickness (such as a fit note) after 28 days of sickness (including non-working days). Proof of sickness cannot be requested earlier than 28 days. 
 
These changes are to give GPs more time to work on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) booster programme and apply until 26 January 2022. 
Most sickness absence policies allow for employees to self-certify absences of up to seven days. Where an employee who is absent for more than seven days advises that they have coronavirus symptoms, the employer will need to make an exception to its normal requirement for medical evidence from the employee's GP. Nevertheless, the employer should take all reasonable steps to verify the sickness absence. This could include requiring the employee to make regular telephone contact, and requiring the employee to explain what medical advice they have sought and followed. 
 
If an employer requires evidence, employees who are staying at home because they have symptoms of coronavirus or have tested positive can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online. Employees can also get an isolation note if they are required to self-isolate because they share a household with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive, or they have been advised to self-isolate by the NHS test and trace service or the NHS COVID-19 app. 
 
For the purposes of determining eligibility for statutory sick pay, employers are able to set their own rules on what evidence they reasonably require of employees' illness. Legislation does not require that the evidence is in the form of a fit note. 
 
Tagged as: Statutory Sick Pay
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