How do I get a sick note (fit note)?
All sick notes state the reason for your absence from work and the length of time you are expected to be off work. The doctor will normally give you a sick note when you are seen with an illness requiring more than a week off work. In some circumstances a sick note may be collected from the surgery without seeing the doctor.
The first week
If you are off work for up to one week (7 days) you do not need a sick note but you do need to inform your employer.
This means you must follow the written sickness policy in place in your workplace for notification of sickness, there is a form called a Statutory Sick Pay Form or Employees Statement Of Sickness (form SC2) this is a 7 day self-certification. This rule applies by law to Statutory Sick Pay . Company sick pay on top of that is subject to whatever rules are in your contract, so a company can require evidence from a doctor from day 1 if that's what the contract says - please check.
A doctor is not obliged to provide a certificate free of charge in order to meet your contractual requirements. Unfortunately some employers are insisting on a doctor's note for less than one week's absence. If you need a sick note in these circumstances the doctor will charge a small fee for a private certificate.
After one week
Once you have been off sick for more than one week you may be required to obtain a sick note from your GP.
If you have had no contact with a Doctor you will need to make an appointment or speak to one of the doctors on the telephone in order to arrange a sick note. This is important as it is not possible to backdate a sick note if you have not already been seen with the condition causing your sickness absence.
If you have a continuing problem, and we have evidence that you are still unfit for work, then it may not be necessary for you to come in and see one of the doctors. It is always best to ring for guidance.
During a stay in hospital the Ward should provide you with a sick note. They should also include any period necessary after you leave hospital. If necessary, this can be extended by your GP when you return home, without necessarily needing to see you, although we will need to see a letter or written report from the relevant Hospital.
In general sick notes that are provided on the basis of another doctor's advice can only be given for up to a maximum of 4 weeks sickness absence. When the sick note is due for renewal a review is necessary unless there is further correspondence from the Hospital about the condition causing your absence.
It is possible for a sick note to be back-dated if you are currently on long term sick so you do not need to be seen urgently or on the day that your sick note expires or is due to be issued. It can be issued at a later date and backdated at the doctor's discretion providing you have previously seen or spoken to the doctor about your illness. If you are not certain that the doctor has evidence that you are ill, it is best to see or speak to a doctor as the doctor will need to document that you are ill before a sick note can be provided
Sick notes from the Doctor are normally free of charge. However, if you require a private certificate or you require a Doctor's sick note and have been absent from work for less than 7 days there is a charge.
Information on the new fit note can be found on the following website: