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Employment Law Newsflash: Easing The Burden On GPs

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Changes to ‘sick note’ (‘fit note’)  requirements: the Government has announced temporary legislation to help ease the burden on GP’s while infection rates are rapidly rising.

The changes mean that employees can now self-certify their sickness absence for up to 28 days – this trumps the existing 7 day self-certification period that employees could use.  Employees will only need to obtain a ‘fit note’ where their sickness absence has lasted more than 28 days, including non-working days. However, this is only designed to cover those absences that either:

  1. Start during the period 17 December 2021 to 26 January 2022 (inclusive); or
  2. Started before 17 December 2021 but has not yet lasted more than seven days so that the requirement for a ‘fit note’ has not yet come into play.

There is no current speculation that these (temporary) measures will be extended beyond these dates.

These regulations do not seek to circumvent your existing absence reporting policies (or absence management processes!) so as an employer, you may want to have a think about reinforcing your reporting procedures during the extended self-certification period. An employee’s failure to comply with your policies without good reason may still warrant appropriate action.