If your employer is asking for a note from your GP surgery, read below:
The government’s rules around issuing a sick note are that medical professionals can only issue one when an individual has had more than seven continuous calendar days off sick due to an illness (including weekends).
For any period of illness less than seven days, you are able to complete a self-certification certificate and provide this to your employer. In the unlikely event that your employer does not accept a self-certification, your doctor may be able to issue a private sick note for which there will be a charge and quite possibly a long delay.
In light of the current Coronavirus situation, it is inevitable that a number of employees may be required to quarantine themselves at home, for example due to the nature of recent travel, even in the absence of any symptoms of an illness. In these cases, your GP will NOT be able to issue a sick note as the time off work is not due to an illness, and isn’t affecting your ability to work, but rather is a precaution to avoid transmission of any illness that is yet to produce symptoms.
We therefore expect your employer to be sympathetic if you are required to self-isolate for 14 days and to understand that the reason for this is to protect the welfare of your work colleagues and the wider community. We understand that you may also be able to call NHS 111 to request an email confirmation of the suspected Coronavirus diagnosis, to show to your employer if needed.
Whilst we appreciate this may cause some difficulties between you and your employer, equally GPs have a responsibility to prioritise the assessment and management of the healthcare needs of patients who are actually unwell, rather than spending time dealing with requests for sick notes, particularly when they aren’t in a position to issue one.
If your employer is asking you for a sick note, please print off the letter below to give to them:
Your employee has informed the Practice of their need to self-isolate in view of having a suspected Covid-19 infection. This may last for between 7 and 21 days depending on their home circumstances as per current NHS guidance.
The Government is aware of the issue for employers when people may have self-certificated for 7 days and need to remain off work despite not having medical symptoms.
The following statement can be found at:
“By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness (i.e. employees can self-certify). After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. To make it easier for people to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home, we are developing an alternative form of evidence to the fit note. These will shortly be available through NHS 111.
In the meantime, we continue to urge employers to respect the need to stay at home where they are following government advice to do so and to show flexibility in the evidence they require from employees.”
We appreciate your understanding during this unprecedented time and ask that you do not pressurise your employees to obtain sick notes from GP surgeries who are under immense pressure dealing with the many seriously unwell patients who are suffering from Covid-19.
Wilmslow Health Centre