If you’re off work for seven days or less, your employer shouldn’t ask you to provide medical evidence that you were unwell or injured. However, they can ask you to provide proof and you should be prepared to show your employer your fit note (sick note) or complete a self-certification form when you return to work.
What is self-certification?
Self-certification is a way to prove that you were ill or injured and needed to take time off work to recover. Not all employers ask their employees to self-certify on their return – a fit note is usually enough to prove you were unwell.
If your employer asks you to complete a self-certification form, you should provide as much detail as you can about the:
- reason you were off — including information about your illness or injury;
- causes of your illness or injury;
- dates your sickness started and ended.
Many employers have their own self-certification form, but HM Revenue and Customs have created a form template, which is publicly available should your employer not have one. Download the Statutory Sick Pay: employee’s statement of sickness (SC2) form on GOV.UK.
What if I can’t prove I was ill or injured?
If you’re unable to prove why you needed to take time off, your employer could withhold any sick pay you might be entitled to.
The law does not state what evidence you must give to your employer to prove you needed to take sick leave, but your organisation’s sickness absence policy, or contract of employment, might specify what you need to produce and at what times during or after your absence.
What if self-certification isn’t appropriate for me?
If you’ve been off work for longer then seven days you won’t be able to self-certify. Your employer will probably ask you for a fit note as proof of your illness, although every company has different absence policies in place.
If you are unsure how to proceed, you can call the free Fit for Work advice line on 0800 032 6235 or use one of the contact methods listed on our homepage to get guidance.
If you’ve been off work for four weeks or more, and are keen to return to work, you can ask your GP or employer for referral to Fit for Work.