Employees can self certify sickness for the first few days of any time off work. There can be confusion around how the self certification process works, and when SSP is payable.
Don’t worry though, we are here to help you understand how to self certify sickness, and the rights employees have to SSP.
What is Self Certification?
Self certification is a process where employees submit documents confirming they have been off work due to illness. This allows them to take a short amount time off without needing to visit a doctor, and qualify for statutory sick pay.
This means workers can call in sick without submitting a doctor’s note or any other medical proof. The process for self certification will differ, depending on the workplace. Usually, though, it will be a case of the employee following the usual procedure for calling in sick. Then, upon their return, they will be asked to fill in a self certification form or perhaps simply send an email.
You can follow this process as long as you aren’t absent from work for more than 7 days. Your employer should not usually request any proof of illness during the self certification period.
How Many Days Can You Self Certify?
You can self certify for up to 7 days before you have to provide sick note to the employer.
This means employees can ring in sick without having to get a sick note. This is handy in the instance of viruses and bugs that tend to only linger for a few days. It also eases the pressure on the NHS.
Sick days for the purposes of the self certification period include all the days you are ill. This includes any days you do not normally work, including weekends and bank holidays. Once these 7 days are up, you can no longer self certify and will need to provide a GP sick note if you are still unwell.
See Also: How many days can you self certify for?
Can You Self Cert Online?
You can download a self certification form online from the GOV.UK Website.
There you will find a range of relevant forms and information regarding illness and SSP. It is best to check with work though, your employer may have their own self certification forms.
Some employers are happy with an email explaining your absence as long as it is under the 7 days criteria.
Getting a Self Certification Form
In the event you have been asked to provide a self certification form, then downloading a copy from the GOV.UK link above should suffice.
This form is the official document, and can be used in conjunction with claiming SSP. Some employers or HR departments may fill this form in themselves and merely get you to sign and date it.
It might be something you are asked to fill in when you return to work after your illness. It very much comes down to company policy. Check your company sick policy if you aren’t sure, or check with your manager.
What Information Does a Self Cert Form Ask For?
The official HMRC self certification form will have the title of ‘Employee’s Statement of Sickness’. It is the same form used to apply for SSP if you fit the criteria.
Other information you will be asked for includes:-
- Your name and title.
- Your National Insurance number.
- Date of birth.
- Clock or payroll number.
- Brief details of sickness.
- Date sickness began.
- Date sickness ended.
- Last date of work before the illness.
- The time you finished that day of work.
- Whether or not your illness was related to a work incident or accident.
When Do You Need a Sick Note?
When your illness lasts more than 7 consecutive days, your employer will require a sick note.
A sick note is also called a fit note or a GP note. You cannot keep self certifying after the 7 days are up. After this point, your employer will ask you for evidence of your illness in the form of a sick note.
This can be done via a telephone appointment, depending on the nature of the illness. In other cases, your GP may ask for a face to face appointment.
How Long Can a Doctor Give a Sick Note For?
When a sick note has been processed by the GP, it will either say fit or unfit to work.
When it says unfit to work, this can cover a maximum period of 3 months during the first 6 months of the illness. After this point, it will be based on whatever the GP feels is clinically best.
At some point, the sick note may change to fit to work but with specific changes / reasonable adjustments to the working day.
What if My Employer Insists on a Sick Note Instead of Self Cert Form?
Sadly, some employers can make the self certification process harder by insisting they need a sick note instead.
Unfortunately, there is no legal provision to stop them from requesting this. GPs will honour this request but it will come at a charge if you are under the 7 day period for self certifying. In an ideal world, your employer will pay this fee if they insist on you having it.
If your illness is covid related then you can go to NHS 111 online and fill in their isolation form. This means you do not need to see a GP. Despite isolation rules changing, many employers still ask their staff to remain home if they are symptomatic.
During the peak of the pandemic, self certification was temporarily increased to 28 days. However, in March 2022, this changed back to 7 days.
Self certification includes work days, non work days, weekends, and bank holidays. It doesn’t have to be only the days you are contracted to work.