An employee can self-certify absence for the first 7 days of sickness, but a doctor’s certificate (i.e. a Fit Note) should be provided by the employee for longer periods of absence.
If an employee is absent without a fit note – where they have been sick for more than 7 days, the employer may be entitled to withhold either contractual sick pay or statutory sick pay (SSP).
Employers are entitled to receive reasonable information to determine whether an employee is entitled to SSP. If it so chooses, an employer can accept alternative evidence of sickness (for example evidence of admission to hospital) and can decide to pay SSP if the employee has good reason for not supplying a doctor’s certificate. However, if the employer is not satisfied that the employee is ill, and no evidence of sickness is provided, the employer can withhold SSP. Evidence requirements for payment of contractual sick pay would be dependent upon the terms of the employer’s own Absence and Sickness Policy.
It is good practice for the employer to attempt to make contact with the employee by telephone, in order to establish why no fit note has been provided. If this is not successful, or the employer is not satisfied with the employee’s explanation, then the employer should write to the employee, setting out sickness reporting requirements as dictated by its Absence and Sickness Policy, highlighting that sick pay may be withheld if no evidence is provided and furthermore, that unauthorised absence could lead to a disciplinary matter.
If the employee still does not provide certification, the employer can treat the absence as unauthorised and implement its Disciplinary Policy and Procedure and Absence and Sickness Management Policy in this respect.
If you have any further questions on the subject matter then please contact Karen Scott on 07762 629 448 or get in touch by clicking here.
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