Sick/Fit Note Certificates

When do I need a Fit Note?

Fit notes are also sometimes called doctor's notes, sick notes, medical certificates or doctor's statements.

A medical certificate note must be signed by a doctor. Your doctor can either say you are not fit for work, or can say you may be fit for work.

If you are off work sick for 7 days or less, your employer should not ask you for a doctor's certificate. If they require something in writing to confirm your sickness, please see our guidance on self certification forms.

If you are off sick for 7 days or more, you will need a doctor's certificate. 

Your 7 days includes days that you do not normally work. Therefore, when you calculate how long you have been off sick, please include weekends and bank holidays.

What can my 'Fit Note' say?

Your 'Fit Note' may sign you off work completely, or it may state that 'you may be fit for work'.

If your GP has documented that ‘you may be fit for work’ they wold be doing so under the belief that work would play an important part in helping you recover from your illness or injury.

The medical certificate will also have space for the GP to give advice to your employer about the impact of your illness or injury. This can be in the form of guidance on common ways in which your employer can help you return to work.  Alternatively, your GP may which to suggest that you work part time, amend your duties in the work place, or work reduced hours. For example, if you have back pain, they may advise you to avoiding heavy lifting.

In the event that you have not seen a doctor at the practice and we have had no information from a medical professional about your illness, you will not be able to get a certificate without an appointment.

If you are under the care of a hospital, your certificate may be issued by the hospital, rather than by the practice.

In either case there are rules governing the issue of sick certificates and the GP may not be able to supply one, depending on the information you provide.

Please note, all sick notes can be back dated or issued on the day. We cannot issue any sick notes for anticipated sick leave (i.e. a sick note forward in time).

Self Certification Forms

Your employer can ask you to confirm that you have been off sick. This can be done by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.

Self-certification forms usually include details such as:

  • information about your sickness or illness
  • the date your sickness started
  • the date your sickness ended

These dates may be days that you don't normally work. For example, your sickness could start or end on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday.

Many employers have their own self-certification forms. If your employer doesn't have their own form, instead they may use an SC2 form from HM Revenue & Customs Employee's Statement of Sickness.

To Download a template self certificare form, please click here.

It is not your GP's responsibility to complete this form. 

Sickness of more than seven days

If you are sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will normally ask you to provide a medical certificate from your GP.

When you need a certificate will also depend on your employer's company policy on sick leave (or sickness absence). This policy should tell you how many days you can be off sick before you need a note.

To find out about your employer's policy please ask your team leader or supervisor. Alternatively, please speak to someone from your human resources (HR) or personnel department.

Please note the turn around time for online requests is 48 hours. 

When you fit note runs out

If your certificate runs out, but you are still sick, you will need to consult  the doctor again before you can get a further certificate. 

Fit certificates can be back-dated so it is not necessary to make an emergency appointment to renew your certifiate. If you attend an emergency appointment for the purpose of getting a medical certificate you will be asked to rebook.

All repeat sick note requests will need to be submitted in writing and not over the phone. You can request a repeat sick note via:

  • A letter through the surgery mail box
  • Email
  • The additional sick certificare form 

Following your request, a clinician will contact you if there is cause for concern in your request. 

Please note the turn around time for online request is 48 hours.

Charges for fit notes

There is usually no charge for providing a fit note if you are off sick for more than seven days.

Some employers request a medical report instead of a a fit note (e.g. from employees who repeatedly take time off sick), even if they are off work for seven days or less. All private medical reports are chargeable.