If you’re off work sick for 7 days or less, your employer should not ask for medical evidence that you’ve been ill. Instead they 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 off work sick for more than 7 days, your employer will usually ask for a fit note (or Statement of Fitness for Work) from a healthcare professional. The health professional treating you (doctor, nurse, occupational therapist, pharmacist or physiotherapist) will provide a Fit Note on request, if appropriate. If you are under hospital care for your illness, please ask them to provide you with your Fit Note.
If your employer will not accept self-certificates (e.g. for repeated short absences), you may be given a private certificate for which a fee is payable. Some employers will reimburse this so please ask for a receipt if you need one.
Should you recover from your illness or injury more quickly than expected, you can return to work and resume your normal duties before the end date on the fit note so long as your employer is in agreement with the decision to return to work. If you are not yet fully fit but could resume some level of work, you could return so long as your employer is able to support you in your alternative/reduced role; a Fit Note stating that you “may be fit for work” can be issued. This will state possible changes required. If your employer is unable to accommodate these changes, then the Fit Note is treated as though it said “unfit for work.
There is no longer an option to say that you are fit for work. If your employer requires medical evidence that you are fit for work they should help you arrange this privately with a healthcare professional or occupational health specialist.
You can find more information about Fit Notes on the gov.uk website.