You do not require a doctor's sickness certificate for any illness lasting seven days or less. Your employer may however require you to complete a self-certification form (SC2) which is available from your employer or on the HMRC website.
Evidence that you are sick
If you are sick for more than seven days, your employer can ask you to give them some form of medical evidence to support payment of SSP (statutory sick pay).
Your employer can ask you to confirm that you've been ill. You can do this by filling in a form yourself when you return to work. This is called self-certification.
If you're sick and off work for more than seven days, your employer will probably ask for proof of your illness. Most employers ask for a fit note from your GP.
However, this will also depend on your employer's company policy on sick leave (or sickness absence). This policy should tell you how many days you can be off sick before you need to provide proof of illness or a fit note.
You could also provide evidence from someone who is not a medical practitioner, e.g. a dentist. Your employer will decide whether or not this evidence is acceptable. If your employer has any doubts, they may still ask for a medical certificate from your GP.
Statement of Fitness for Work - ’Fit Note'
The 'fit note' was introduced on 6 April 2010. With your employer's support, the note will help you return to work sooner by providing more information about the effects of your illness or injury.
For more information see the DirectGov website (where this information was sourced).
Collection of information
This practice is required to supply personal health data to comply with its legal obligations from time to time, as directed by the Secretary of State for Health, or other recognised Statutory Authority.
From January 2016, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) will soon begin to collect anonymous data from the general practice clinical system on patients who have been issued with a fit note. This information is required by the HSCIC under section 259(1) of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. In line with section 259(5) of the Act, all general practices in England must comply with this requirement and provide information to the HSCIC in the form, manner and period specified in this Data Provision Notice. This Notice is issued in accordance with the procedure published as part of the HSCIC duty under Section 259(8).
Anonymised data on the use of fit notes is being provided to the HSCIC on behalf of Department of Health, and the Department for Work and Pensions. This will enable the Department for Work and Pensions to undertake research analysis to inform policy relating to employment and sickness absence, including evaluation of Fit for Work.
The data collected includes the type and duration of the fit note, recommendations for adjustments to enable a return to work, diagnostic codes, geographic area and gender.
You may want to prevent confidential information about you from being shared or used for any purpose other than providing your care. If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared outside your GP practice, please inform the practice and we will make a note of this in your medical record.
This will prevent your confidential information from being used other than in special circumstances required by law, such as a public health emergency. This is known as a type 1 objection.
The HSCIC also makes national collections of information from other places where you receive care, such as hospitals and community services. They only release this information in identifiable form where there is legal approval to do so. You can opt out of this identifiable information leaving the HSCIC for purposes beyond your direct care. This is known as a type 2 objection. The only exceptions to this are very rare circumstances, such as a civil emergency or a public health emergency.