Government announces temporary changes to 'Fit Note' rules

Posted 22/12/2021 : By: Jem Cranfield

We have been made aware of a temporary change to the rules on ‘Fit Notes’ for absent employees which we would like to share with you.

What has changed?

If an employee is off sick, they would normally need to get a Fit Note from their GP or health professional after seven days of absence in order to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). 

As part of efforts to free up NHS capacity to cope with the Omicron Covid19 variant, on 17 December the Government announced that for absences beginning on or after 10 December 2021, GP’s will not need to provide a Fit Note until the employee has been absent for 28 days, including non-working days.  Eligibility for SSP will be unaffected.

How does this affect me?

Employees who were continuously absent before 10 December 2021 should continue to provide you with a Fit Note covering their absence.

Employees who begin a period of absence on or after 10 December 2021 will not be able to provide you with a Fit Note until they have been absent for 28 days (including non-working days), so employers will need to rely on their existing self-certification processes for longer than the usual seven days.

If you pay Company Sick Pay and this would normally be conditional on a Fit Note, you may need to relax this rule.

There are no changes to the eligibility criteria for SSP other than this relaxed Fit Note requirement.

How long will the temporary measures last?

According to the Government website, these temporary measures are expected to end on 27 January 2022.

Click the button below for more information on the Government website. For individual advice, please contact the Ashtons HR Consulting team on enquiry@ashtonhrconsulting.co.uk or call 0333 222 0989. 

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