You do not require a doctor's sickness certificate for any illness lasting seven days or less. Your employer may however require you to complete a self-certification form (SC2) which is available from your employer or on the HMRC website.
Evidence that you are sick
If you are sick for more than seven days, your employer can ask you to give them some form of medical evidence to support payment of SSP (statutory sick pay).
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.
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.
You could also provide evidence from someone who is not a medical practitioner, e.g. a dentist. Your employer will decide whether or not this evidence is acceptable. If your employer has any doubts, they may still ask for a medical certificate from your GP.
Statement of Fitness for Work - ’Fit Note'
The 'fit note' was introduced on 6 April 2010. With your employer's support, the note will help you return to work sooner by providing more information about the effects of your illness or injury.
For more information see the DirectGov website (where this information was sourced)
Advise on the Provision of Sick Notes for School Children
Following a request from a practice who have noticed a marked increase over the last few months in the number of schools asking parents to get 'sick notes' or 'proof of attendance at GP appointments' from local schools, the LMC advise that that there is no statutory or contractual requirement for practices to certify children’s' absence from school or provide proof of attendance at GP appointments. The governors may try to make it a part of their school's internal procedures but they have no way of enforcing it.
In order to assist practices who wish to either refuse to undertake this work, or charge a fee should they chose to do the work, the LMC have written a template (below) with wording for a letter which practices may wish to send to parents and/or schools about the increasing number of requests for sick notes from schools for their pupils.
There has been a marked increase in the number of requests for GPs to provide sick notes for school children who are suffering from minor illnesses or ailments. This is adding an unnecessary burden to GP practices that are already at breaking point and struggling to provide timely appointments. Processing requests to provide sick notes for school children is taking up valuable time and resources that could be better utilised to treat patients who have a real need to see their GP. Furthermore GPs are under no obligation to provide these notes.
The recently published NHS England paper “General Practice Forward View” recognised the need for patients to take more responsibility for their own health through self-care; in line with the procedure for adults to self-certify minor illnesses, it is suggested that schools adopt a similar policy whereby the child’s parent, legal guardian or carer provides a note explaining why the child is off school. Alternatively, schools could utilise the school nursing service to provide these notes if they deem the note from the parent, legal guardian or carer is not sufficient. GPs have no legal or contractual obligation to provide sick notes for school children; if under specific circumstances they decide to do so then they are entitled to charge a fee for undertaking this work.
Drafted by David Gibbs, Head of Business Support, Derby and Derbyshire LMC, July 2016