Do I need a doctor's certificate?

Employers who are only paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) cannot ask for a doctor's certificate for the first seven days of a spell of sickness. The seven days include non-working days, such as weekends.

Employers are entitled to ask for evidence that you have been off sick. Typically, employers make rules such as:

  • asking you to notify them on the first day of absence;
  • following this up by asking you to complete a self-certification form for spells of between four and seven days;
  • asking for a medical statement (now known as a Statement of Fitness for Work or ‘fit note’, rather than a 'sick note') after seven days' absence. These are typed by the GP and then handed to the patient. Usually the note will say that a person is not fit for work and how long the person is 'signed off' for, or sometimes it will say that they might be fit for work under certain circumstances. Fit notes are not sent by the GP to the employer. The TUC has produced guidance on the electronic fit note.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.