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On 17 December 2021, the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 came into force; temporarily extending the period employees can self-certify sickness. Employees who become ill after 9 December (so from 10 December) can now self-certify sickness for up to 28 days, instead of just 7 days under the previous rules.

All employers must therefore take note that an employee now only needs to attend a GP for a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) if they have been ill for more than 28 days (which includes non-working days) and have taken sick leave.

The government’s extension is intended to assist GP’s ability to focus on the accelerated booster vaccination roll out and support efforts generally to get the new Omicron variant which is sweeping the nation under control.

This isn’t a permanent change, however – these changes are set to apply from 17 December 2021 to 26 January 2022; although this period could well be extended in due course.

Where an employee is self-isolating and is unable to work because of coronavirus, then they can obtain an ‘isolation note’ online from NHS 111 – as opposed to having to attend their GP or local hospital.

It’s important for employer’s to be aware of this recent, temporary change and ensure the correct procedure is adopted when dealing with sickness absence leave.

If you are an employer or employee needing guidance or assistance in relation to sickness absence procedures or policies, then chat to one of our experts today by contacting Nick Smith or Laura Liddle of the Mincoffs Employment Team.

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