By Paula Fisher
April 27th 2022
Your employee may now present you with a digital fit note when they are absent due to sickness, but how do you know if it is genuine?
Employees can self-certify a period of sickness absence for up to 7 calendar days, after which time they must provide their employer with a fit note from their doctor to cover their continued absence.
From 6 April 2022 you may notice changes to the fit note you receive from your employees as a new version of the form is being rolled out (although the old style is still currently valid). The requirement for the doctor to sign the form in ink has been removed and replaced by the issuer’s name and profession being included on the form as a digital method of authorising.
As the fit notes will be digital, they could be sent by the doctor via SMS, e-mail, an App or other digital channels, so your employee may not have a paper copy to give to you.
However, this has raised concerns that the new digital fit note may be easier to forge than the traditional fit notes signed by the doctor. So as an employer, what should you do if you are presented with a digital fit note and are concerned about its authenticity?
In the event that you are concerned about the validity of the new digital fit note, you are permitted to contact the doctor to check that it is genuine. The doctor should check the fit note serial number and confirm to you that they have issued it. As this does not reveal any medical information and just confirms that the fit note has been issued, you will not need to obtain the employee’s consent to do this.
The fit note belongs to the employee, and they should keep the original, although we recommend you take a copy for your records.
For further information on Fit Notes in general, please read our blog post from February.
For further guidance on managing absence please visit www.yourhr.guide.
If you feel that you need guidance or advice on this matter, please call Practical HR on 01702 216573
If you need advice or guidance on the subject matter outlined in the above item, or any other employment matter, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.