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If you are off work for seven days or fewer you do not need a medical certificate from your doctor. You will however need a self certification form. These are available from the Post Office or Department for Work and Pensions (formerly the DSS). If you are employed you will need form SC2; If you are self-employed or unemployed you will need form SC1.
The seven days includes days that you don’t normally work. So when you work out how long you’ve been off sick, you should include weekends and bank holidays.
If your employer insists on a certificate from your doctor for illness between 1-7 days, this service is not covered by the NHS and a charge will be made.
You can fill out and print the SC2 form at www.gov.uk
If you’re off work sick for more than seven days, your employer will usually ask you to provide proof that you’ve been ill. They will normally ask for a fit note from your GP. A fit note is the informal name for the Statement of Fitness for Work.
If illness should cause you to be absent from work for a period longer than seven days, you need to book an appointment to see your GP and obtain a medical certificate confirming your illness and inability to work. This will ensure that you receive company sick pay or statutory sick pay (SSP) from the government. The only exceptions to this may be after hospital inpatient or outpatient treatment or for long-term sickness.
For further information on SSP, other benefits and how being ill may affect or change your claim, please visit the Department of Work and Pensions website at: dwp.gov.uk
For guidance explaining how and when hospital doctors should use a fit note, please see Fitnote Hospital Guide