Fit notes, also referred to as ‘sick notes’ or ‘statements of fitness for work’ are currently only certified and issued by doctors to provide evidence to an employer about an employee’s absence due to illness. For statutory sick pay purposes, employees must provide evidence of their sickness after seven consecutive days of incapacity. The fit note also provides advice on how to support an individual to remain in or return to work.
From 1 July 2022 the following healthcare professionals will be able to legally certify and issue fit notes:
- Registered medical practitioner
- Registered nurse
- Registered occupational or physiotherapist
- Registered pharmacist
This change is to reduce pressure on doctors, particularly GPs to allow them to focus on the backlog of appointments caused by the pandemic. It is expected to make the process easier in issuing and receiving a fit note.
Further changes were made on 6 April 2022 - a fit note no longer needs to be ‘signed in ink’ by whoever issues it. They are now authorised and issued digitally with the name of the healthcare professional who authorised it, making the process more efficient.
What does this mean for employers?
Employers will need to review and update their current sickness absence reporting procedures accordingly to ensure employees and managers are aware of their obligations.
If you would like to know more about the changes to fit notes, please contact Kirsty Henderson, one of our HR Advisors.
Find out more about Kirsty Henderson