A woman calls in sick from her bed

New temporary 28-day rule on fit notes comes in

Employees are now able to self-certify their sickness absence for up to 28 days, under the newly-introduced Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021. 

The temporary rule change, applying since 17 December 2021 until 26 January 2022, prevents employers from requesting proof of sickness until 28 consecutive days have passed. This includes non-working days. Ordinarily, employees are required to produce a fit note if they are absent from work for more than seven days. 

This extended self-certification period is intended to relieve pressures on GPs and free up capacity to focus on the vaccination programme. However, the new rules will only apply for SSP purposes; company sick pay policies may include different rules. 

Additionally, if the employee started their sick leave before 10 December 2021, usual rules apply; the employer can ask for proof if they have been off work for more than seven days in a row (including non-working days).

The new rules only change the self-certification period. All of the other rules around SSP and self-certification continue to apply.

The Government has updated its guidance on Statutory Sick Pay in line with the changes.