Employers need to be aware of an important change to the rules around requesting medical evidence (or proof of sickness) from employees for statutory sick pay purposes.

Under normal circumstances an employer can ask for proof of sickness, usually in the form of a fit note from a GP, after an employee has been off work for more than seven days. However, under temporary rules this time period has been increased to 28 days.

The aim is to reduce the demands placed on GPs and increase their capacity to support with the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme.

The new proof of sickness rules apply to sickness absences that start either during the period 17 December to 26 January or which began prior to 17 December but did not last more than seven days on that date.

This is a temporary measure, so will not apply to spells of sickness which begin after 26 January.

The guidance, Statutory Sick Pay: employee fitness to work, has been updated to reflect this change, and confirms that if an employee is off sick on or after 10 December 2021 and up to and including 26 January 2022, an employer cannot ask them for proof of sickness until they have been off for 28 days or more.

If you are an employer who needs advice on this or any other employment law matter, please get in touch by emailing enquiry@beswicks.com or phoning 01782 205000. Alternatively, ask us about Beswicks HR, our cost-effective, fixed fee service that provides unlimited employment law advice.