Statutory Sick Pay - Emergency Legislation
Emergency legislation came into force on 17 December 2021 temporarily changing the rules on the medical evidence of sickness absence required for statutory sick pay (SSP) purposes. What’s changed?
Normally, where an employee is absent from work due to sickness, for SSP purposes they can self-certify their absence for the first calendar week, but where their absence exceeds seven calendar days, they need to obtain a statement of fitness for work (or “fit note”) from their GP or a hospital doctor (but if they’re self-isolating and can’t work due to COVID-19, they can instead get an “isolation note” online from NHS 111). That rule has now been temporarily changed by the government to free up GP time for the COVID-19 booster programme.
The Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 have amended the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985 to provide that an employee is not required to provide a fit note in respect of the first 28 days of any sickness absence which either starts during the period 17 December 2021 to 26 January 2022 (inclusive) or which started prior to 17 December 2021 but which has not lasted more than seven days on that date (and hence the requirement to provide a fit note has not yet arisen). The updated SSP guidance is here.
If, however, the employee started their sickness absence before 10 December 2021, they must still provide a fit note if they’ve been off work for more than seven calendar days.
These amending SSP regulations apply in England, Wales and Scotland.