As many employers will be aware an employee, who is off work due to sickness, can complete a self-certification form when they return to work provided, they have not been off work for more than 7 consecutive days, which includes non-working days and weekends.
However, this has now been extended temporarily to assist with the Covid-19 booster rollout and ease pressure on GP’s. It means that an employee can self-certify themselves for up to 28 days, and if their absence exceeds this then they will need to obtain a fit note from their GP.
The change is limited to spells of sickness between the 10 December 2021 and 26 January 2022.
If an employee is absent from work after the 26 January 2022, then they will need to produce a fit note after 7 consecutive days, provided the temporary change is not extended.
However, if an employee is absent from work prior to the 26 January 2022 and their sickness absence extends beyond the 26 January 2022, then they will not be required to provide a fit note until they have been absent for 28 days, for instance, if an employee commences sick leave on the 24 January 2022, then they would not be required to provide a fit note for 28 days.
There has been no change to statutory sick pay (SSP), which is paid on the 4th day of an employee’s absence, unless the employee is self-isolating due to Covid-19 in which case an employee is entitled to SSP from their first day of absence.
Of course, if you pay Company sick pay, then this will need to be paid as normal.
What do you need to do?
As this is a temporary change there is no action you need to take, however, if an employee does commence a period of sick leave which is likely to extend beyond 7 consecutive days, then I would inform them of the temporary change to avoid them contacting their GP unnecessarily.