Been Off Work?
You do not require a doctor's sickness certificate for any illness lasting seven days or less. Your employer may however require you to complete a self-certification form (SC2) which is available from your employer or on the HMRC website.
Evidence that you are sick
If you are sick for more than seven days, your employer can ask you to give them some form of medical evidence to support payment of SSP (statutory sick pay).
It is up to your employer to decide whether you are incapable of work. A medical certificate, now called a 'Statement of Fitness for Work’ (see below) from your doctor is strong evidence that you are sick and would normally be accepted, unless there is evidence to prove otherwise.
You could also provide evidence from someone who is not a medical practitioner, e.g. a dentist. Your employer will decide whether or not this evidence is acceptable. If your employer has any doubts, they may still ask for a medical certificate from your GP.
Statement of Fitness for Work - ’Fit Note'
The 'fit note' was introduced on 6 April 2010. With your employer's support, the note will help you return to work sooner by providing more information about the effects of your illness or injury.
For more information see the DirectGov website (where this information was sourced)
After 1 week of being absent form work
Once you have been off sick for more than one week you can obtain a sick note from a doctor. The first appointment may be needed face-to-face with your doctor.
Renewal of a sick note
If you have a continuing problem and you have already received a sick note from the GP, simply request for a renewal with the receptionist who will inform your GP. Your GP may organise a telephone consultation with you and be able to issue a certificate without needing to see you.
Back dating a sick note
It is possible for a sick note to be back dated so you do not need to be seen urgently or on the day that your sick note expires. It can be issued at a later date and back dated at the doctor’s discretion. A doctor may also extend a sick note without you being seen again. A request for another sick note can be made by telephoning your doctor's personal assistant or asking one of the reception staff. However if you are requesting for a sick note for the first time and you need it back dated to a time you were not registered or have no evidence of health seeking behaviour i.e. A/E, walking clinic, hospital letter then it may not be possible to issue one.
Sick notes from the doctor are normally free of charge (unless you request a duplicate or replacement sick note). However, if you require a private sick note and have been absent from work for less than five days, there is a charge of £10.
Duplicate sick notes
If you are requesting for a duplicate sick note that has already been issues then there can be a fee for this service.
Sick notes covering period of stay in hospital and expected recovery time
It is the responsibility of the hospital staff to issue sick notes for a period of stay in hospital and the ‘expected’ recovery time afterwards. This certificate should be obtained before you are discharged from hospital.