Temporary Changes to GP Sick Notes

In absence, covid-19, government, health and safety on December 20, 2021 at 10:36 am

Last week (17 December) temporary changes were announced with rules relating to GP Sick Notes that will be in place until 26 January 2022.

If you are currently managing sickness absence this is important.

For absences from 10 December to 26 January 2022 employers should not ask employees for proof of sickness until the absence has lasted for 28 days or more. This change was implemented due to GP resources being wholly devoted to vaccine booster rollout.

Also, Statutory Sick Pay can not be withheld from employees during this period. This may conflict with your own policies relating to reporting sickness absence. This is a significant change from the usual requirement that requires a medical certificate to be provided after 7 days of absence.

These changes are effective now and will take precedent until 26 January.

Whilst employers cannot ask for proof of sickness for non-Covid related absences, it remains possible to ask for proof of a positive test or isolation request for those absences that are Covid related.

For those clients currently managing sickness absence, you may not be able to obtain a first or renewal sick note. You should continue to consult with absent employees and assess the likely timing of their return to work. This does not impact on your ability to pursue occupational health reports and in some cases you may wish to bring this forward.

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