The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced a temporary change to the requirement for a fit note for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) purposes. Where employees are off sick 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 an absence lasting less than 28 days (but there will be a charge), 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. As an alternative, where an employer has an occupational health provider they may wish to advise employees that they reserve the right to ask them to attend for examination where their absence lasts 7 days or more instead.