Medical Certificates and Statement of Fitness for Work
For the first seven days of not being able to work due to illness or injury, you do not need to provide your employer with a doctor's medical certificate (sick note). However, you should fill in a 'self-certification' form to provide evidence of your inability to work for your employer or the Department of Social Security. The forms are SC1 for the unemployed or self-employed, which is sent to the Benefits Agency, and SC2 for those in employment, to pass to your employer.
Your employer may ask you for a doctor's certificate (sick note) during the first seven days of your inability to work. As this is not legally necessary, your doctor will charge a fee to the employer for providing it.
If you see your doctor during the first seven days of your inability to work, and the opinion is that your condition is likely to last for more than seven days, you may be given form Med 3 (although your doctor is not obliged to do so), which can cover time off work from the examination for a period not exceeding six months.
There is one exception to the general rule that doctors are not required to issue a certificate during the first seven days of your inability to work. If you are claiming a state incapacity benefit and you have had one or more short spells of incapacity totalling more than seven days within an eight week period, your doctor is required to issue a certificate for any further short spell of incapacity within that period. The Benefits Agency will tell you that a doctor's certificate is required.
Most employees get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from their employer when they are sick. The self-employed, unemployed and non-employed may claim state incapacity benefits instead. SSP is paid for up to 28 weeks off work. Spells separated by a period of eight weeks or less count as one. If your incapacity lasts longer than 28 weeks you may be transferred to Incapacity Benefit. Your employer should give you the relevant claim form.
For more information you can get information leaflets from your local Department of Social Security office, or the Post Office. The DSS website address is http://www.dss.gov.uk