The Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021
The government has temporarily introduced the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 which came into effect on Friday 17 December 2021. The new regulations extend the period that employees can self-certify they are sick to 28 days rather than the usual seven days.
The government is hoping that this will free up GP’s time so that they are able to concentrate on the accelerated roll out of the vaccine booster in response to the Omicron variant.
The new regulations applies to anyone who first became ill from 10 December 2021 and who remains unfit for work after seven days. However, anyone who was already signed off work by their GP before this date will continue to obtain fit notes when the current one expires.
The new regulations are intended to have effect from 17 December 2021 until 26 January 2022 only, however given the current situation with the pandemic we expect this to be extended beyond the end of January.
Employer’s sickness policies may require employees to provide a fit note after seven days of sickness absence. It is likely that GP’s will refuse to issue a fit note until the employee has been absent for more than 28 days. Employers should consider temporarily relaxing their usual requirement in line with these regulations.
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