20 March, 2020
To date, due to the practical difficulties for employees in obtaining fit notes from their GP and delays in the system, employers have needed to take a pragmatic approach to the evidence requirements they require from their staff who are off sick or are in self-isolation.
From a legal standpoint, medical evidence such as a Fit Note is not required in order for SSP to be paid - an employer simply needs to be satisfied that the reason for the absence is genuinely sickness-related. However, employers will generally have procedures in place which require the production of medical evidence to certify absence after an initial 7-day self-certification period.
The government had previously announced that it would be introducing a temporary alternative to the usual GP fit note to enable those who are advised to self-isolate to obtain the evidence needed for their employer, whilst helping to alleviate the pressures and backlog on GPs. Further details have now been released.
The notes are for people unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) and can be used:
Applicants will be asked a series of questions and the isolation note will then be emailed to the applicant who should provide it to their employer.
The service can be used to generate a note for another person and individuals can specify that the note be sent directly to their employer (or a trusted family member/friend, who can then pass it on).
We will continue to provide further updates as the situation develops, however if you have any queries arising as a result of this briefing, or you require any advice on the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Employment Team.
For more information contact Helen McNevin in our Employment & HR department via email or phone on 0333 207 4462. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.