Getting a fit note or self-certifying
Employees might need a fit note when they're off sick. A fit note is an official statement from a registered healthcare professional giving their medical opinion on a person's fitness for work. Fit notes used to be called sick notes.
Healthcare professionals who can provide fit notes are:
- occupational therapists
Whether an employee needs a fit note depends on how long they're off sick.
Self-certification when off sick for 7 days or less
If someone is off sick for 7 calendar days or less (including weekends), they do not need a fit note.
They can tell their employer they're not well enough to work. They do not need to provide medical evidence.
This is called 'self-certifying' their sick leave. They should still be paid the amount of sick pay they're entitled to.
Getting a fit note when off sick for more than 7 days
If an employee is off sick for more than 7 calendar days, they should get a fit note from a registered healthcare professional.
This is the case even if the employee was not supposed to be at work for some of the 7 calendar days. For example if:
- they work part time
- some of the 7 calendar days were a weekend, when they do not work
The healthcare professional can provide the fit note by email or as a printed copy.
The employee should give the fit note to their employer on the 7th day of their absence, or as soon as possible after this.
If there's a delay getting a fit note
If there's a delay getting a fit note, the employee should contact their employer to explain:
- why there's a delay – for example, difficulty booking a doctor's appointment
- when their employer will get the fit note
An employer should only ask their employee for a fit note from the 7th day of absence. A healthcare professional might refuse to provide a fit note before the 7th day.
What a fit note says
The healthcare professional has to tick whether the employee:
Contact the Acas helpline
If you have any questions about fit notes or self-certification, you can contact the Acas helpline.