Requests for certification of absence from the workplace relating to covid-19 may fall into five categories:
1. Symptomatic – so isolating for seven days
Patients can and should self-certify for the first seven days as normal if they are unfit to work. You do not need to contact your GP.
2. Symptomatic and remaining unwell for over seven days
If you remain unwell and unfit to work after seven days, the current advice is to visit www.111.nhs.uk where there is an online self-assessment tool which should be up and running soon. You do not need to contact your GP for a certificate but you can use the Med3 Fit Note for use during the Coronavirus Outbreak which is available in the link below or in the Sick/Fit note section of this website. Complete this and hand in to your employer.
3. Household contact symptoms so isolating for fourteen days as per government advice
GPs cannot and are not the gatekeeper of the statutory sick pay system and can only provide certificates for the purpose of illness, not in relation to government advice regarding self-isolation. Employers are responsible for putting in place arrangements for home/remote working where this is possible. Where it is not possible, you the employee, may self-certify and return to work following the relevant absence which your employer may authorise as per government advice.
4. At risk group so following government advice
If you are in an at risk group and you become unwell during or after this time, point 1 and 2 applies. You do not need to contact your GP.
5. Those in full time education who are symptomatic or requiring self-isolation.
There is no NHS requirement to issue certification to schools or colleges to confirm absence. These organisations must work with parents and students to ensure that any absence is appropriately recorded, obviating the need for a ‘doctor’s note’. You do not need to contact their GP.
The current Government Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) states:
“By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, employers may use their discretion around the need for medical evidence if an employee is staying at home.
We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to stay at home either as they are unwell themselves, or live with someone who is, in accordance with the public health advices issued by the government.”
Coronavirus – Get an isolation note directly from NHS111
Use this service if you have been told to stay at home because of coronavirus and you need a note for your employer.
This service is only for people who:
- have symptoms of coronavirus and have used the 111 online coronavirus service
- have been told by a healthcare professional they have symptoms of coronavirus
- live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus
To access this, please go to 111.nhs.uk/isolation-note