From 17 of December, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Regulations ie. self-certification for illness also known as a Fit Note and related time off work (sick leave) has been extended from 7 days to 28 days.
The Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey, in line with the commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs, signed the amended regulations on December 16. Normally, businesses ask their employees to provide medical evidence from their doctor if they are unwell and unable to work for more than seven days. However, individuals are now able to self-certify their sickness for up-to 28 days following this amendment to Statutory Sick Pay Regulations.
Ella Smith, Honorary Welfare Adviser to the MEA comments
“This is a very short-term change. The new regulations provide that the modified time limit applies to spells of sickness that start during the period 17 December 2021 to 26 January 2022 or which commence prior to the regulations coming into force but which have not lasted more than seven days on that date – as the requirement to provide medical evidence will not have arisen at that point. The temporary changes are to assist general practitioners (GPs) during the roll out of the Covid booster programme in the immediate weeks and will then revert to the 7 day rule on the 27th January 2022.”
However, these temporary changes mean that fit note requirements for Universal Credit (UC) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) has also changed.
“In an update to guidance for claimants who are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits their ability to work, the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) says that it has made a temporary change to medical evidence requirements, advising claimants that -
‘You do not have to provide a fit note (sick note) for ESA / universal credit until 27 January 2022. This will not affect your claim.
There is no need to ask your GP for a fit note before then. This is to give GPs more time to work on the coronavirus vaccination boosters.
If you are concerned about your health condition, you should continue to see your GP.”
Further details can be found on the UK Government website.