During the first seven calendar days of sickness, an employee can self-certify that they are unable to work. After this time, a doctor may issue a ‘fit note’ (this replaces the old ‘sick note’). A fit note allows doctors to advise whether someone ‘may be fit for work’ or is ‘not fit for work’. In either case, the GP will include evidence for the advice they have given.
If the note states that someone “may be fit for work”, the GP will include information about the functional effects of the person’s condition. They will also give advice about what may be done to help the person be able to work. The information is intended to encourage a discussion where the employer and employee consider and agree any changes that would help the person return to work.
If the note states that someone is unable to work, then the organisation’s sick leave policy will come into use – see below.