Ordinarily, employees who are entitled to receive statutory sick pay can self-certify their sickness absence for the first 7 days. During this time, the employees do not need to provide their employer with a fit note. For sickness absences in excess of 7 days, employees must provide their employers with a fit note from their GP.
However, due to temporary changes made to current Regulations, employees can now self-certify their sickness absence for the first 28 days. The 28-day period includes non-working days, such as bank holidays and weekends. During this time, employees will not be required to provide their employer with a fit note. For sickness absences in excess of 28 days, GPs will need to provide employees with a fit note. The change has been introduced to increase GPs’ capacity to focus on delivery of the NHS’ coronavirus booster programme.
This temporary change took effect from 17 December 2021, and also applies to spells of incapacity for work which commenced prior to the Regulations coming into force but which have not lasted more than 7 days on that date. The changes will continue to apply up to and including sickness absences which begin on or before 26 January 2022. For sickness absences beginning on or after 27 January 2022, self-certification will revert back to the 7-day period.