Towards the end of December 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced a temporary change to the requirement for a fit note for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) purposes. Where an employee is absent from work due to sickness on or after 10 December 2021, employers may only ask for proof of sickness (usually a fit note) after 28 days, rather than the usual 7 days. The change has been implemented to give GPs more time to work on the Covid-19 booster programme.
Theoretically, an employer paying occupational sick pay may still ask the employee to provide a fit note for any absence lasting less than 28 days, however the odds of them managing to procure one from their GP seem low and it wouldn’t be in the public interest to insist. Where an employer has an occupational health provider, they may wish to consider advising employees that they reserve the right to ask them to attend for examination where their absence lasts 7 days or more instead.
Click here to read the fit note guidance or the very short statutory instrument.