The government have implemented some short term changes to the management of statutory sick pay.   The changes came into force on 17th December but seem to have been slipped in under the radar so there is a low level of awareness.

These changes have been made in order to protect GPs and free up some of their time to implement the booster programme.

Employees are no longer required to provide their employer with a doctors’ fit note after 7 days absence.  Until 26th January 2022 they will only have to provide a fit note after an absence of 28 days inclusive of weekends.  For clarity, an employee can be off work sick or injured for 28 days before they must provide you with a note from their doctor.

The absence can begin in the 7 days prior to 17th December.

These changes will self destruct on 26th January 2022 following which the 7 days only self certification period will resume – unless the government implement an extension.

It is good practice to keep in touch with any employee who is off sick or injured.  This is to check on their wellbeing and to provide you with an opportunity to understand how long they are likely to be absent so you can plan ahead.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t require the employee to provide self certification during their period of absence, maybe several times if you wish.  You should keep a careful note of sickness absences including how long and why an employee is off sick.  If you have an employee whose attendance is poor or whose absences are questionable, your audit trail may become important if and when you need to address the issue.

Don’t forget that Covid related absences attract Statutory Sick Pay from Day 1 of the period of absence.  For everything else, Statutory Sick Pay doesn’t start until Day 4 of the absence.

If you need/want help with this or any other HR issue please contact me either on 07766 167160 or at