News Flash: Self-certification rules changed for UK statutory sick pay

Following on from our last newsflash about the temporary reimbursement of  Statutory Sickness Pay SSP payments to employees from 21 December, we are now focusing on another key change which involves sickness reporting by employees 

Under the normal  SSP rules,  employees can only self-certify their absence for the first 7 days of sickness, after which a fitness note from their doctor is needed. On 17 December 2021, however, the government updated its guidance on sickness absence reporting. 

On a temporary basis employees who go on sick leave on or after 10 December 2021, up to and including 26 January 2022, do not need to provide any  proof of sickness until they have been off for 28 consecutive days, including non-working days or more. 

Those employees with absences relating to Covid-19 (e.g. those who test positive or are told by NHS Test and Trace to isolate) can still be asked to provide evidence of this via a positive test result confirmation or an official isolation request. 

Self-certification forms for absence can and should be asked for and accepted for the first 28 days, after which employers can expect a fit note as normal. The change does not negate employers’ responsibility to conduct regular welfare meetings; all other aspects of the absence management process should remain as usual. 

Under UK employment law  when an eligible employee is too sick to work, their employer must pay them £96.35 per week in SSP for up to 28 weeks.  To qualify for SSP, a worker must be classed as an employee by an employer and have completed some work for them.   They must also earn an average of at least £120 per week, and have been ill or self-isolating for at least four days, including non-working days in a row. If self-isolating and unable to attend work because of coronavirus, employees can provide an isolation note from NHS 111 to their employers to certify their absence. 

For companies offering a company sick pay (CSP) scheme this change may cause an additional issue. 

CSP is sometimes included in a worker’s employment contract guaranteeing that they will receive their normal salary when absent during illness. Employers’ policies often require a fitness note to validate illness for CSP purposes. 

Under a CSP scheme employers can still request a fitness note within the 28 day self-certification period, but GPs will require payment for what is then a private medical certificate.   Considering the issues currently faced by many GP practices, this condition may be difficult to fulfil and companies will need to use their judgement. 

SRC-Time are one of the South East’s leading accountancy firms in advising on all aspects  of business, taxation and corporate finance and we can assist in any issue raised above

Our expert team is available to provide you with advice and can be contacted on 01273 326 556 or you can drop us an email at  or speak with an account manager to get any process started.

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