Sick/Fit Note Certificates

When do I need a sick note?

Your employer will usually ask you to provide a medical certificate/ sick note if you are off work for more than seven days. This seven day period is consecutive and may include days you do not usually work for example weekends and bank holidays.

When you need a certificate may 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 a note.

To find out about your employer's policy:

  • ask your team leader or supervisor, or
  • speak to someone from your human resources (HR) or personnel department


If you are off work sick for seven days or less, your employer should not ask you for a medical certificate. 

They may however ask you to complete a 'self-certification' form.

Self Certification Forms

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.

Self-certification forms usually include details such as:

  • information about your sickness or illness
  • the date your sickness started
  • the date your sickness ended

These dates may be days that you don't normally work. For example, your sickness could start or end on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday.

Many employers have their own self-certification forms. If your employer doesn't have their own form, instead they may use an SC2 form from HM Revenue & Customs Employee's Statement of Sickness.

Download a template self certification form


Sick notes and how to get one

Sick notes may also be called medical certificates, fit notes, doctor's notes or doctors statements.

You can request a sick note by completing our online form and selecting 'admin request.' Please give as much information about how/why your condition might prevent you from being able to work. There are rules governing the issue of sick certificates and the GP may not be able to supply one, depending on the information you provide.

Please note that if you have not previously discussed things with a doctor, it is likely that you will be allocated a telephone appointment to discuss things further. 

Being at work in some capacity where possible is often benefical, and can play an important part in helping people recover from illness or injury. For this reason your doctor/clinician may suggest that you 'May be fit for work' and might suggest ways inwhich your employer can help. For example by suggesting a 'phased return, amended hours, or amended duties.' 

If your employer is not able to accomodate the suggestions, then you will be 'signed off.'

The doctor/clinican will specify on the note how long you are required to be off work for. Please note that at the end of this period, if you are well enough to return to work, you do not need any further information/notes to confirm that you are now fit for work.

If you need further time off, then a further note can be issued if appropriate. Please note that sick notes cannot be forward dated, but they can be back dated. We will not allocate emergency appointments for the issuing of sick notes.

If you are under the care of a hospital, your certificate should be issued by the hospital, rather than by the practice.

Charges for sick notes

There is usually no charge for providing a doctor's note if you are off sick for more than seven days.

Some employers may request a fit note (e.g. from employees who repeatedly take time off sick) even if they are off work for seven days or less. This is a private non-NHS medical certificate.

For sickness of seven days or less, a charge of £20 is payable in order for us to provide a certificate.

When your sick note runs out

If you are well enough to return to work at the end of your certificate, you can return to work without any further input/forms from your doctor.

If your certificate runs out, but you are still sick, you will need to submit a new online request to ask for a further certificate.

Fit certificates can be back-dated so it is not necessary to make an emergency appointment to renew your certifiate. If you attend an emergency appointment for the purpose of getting a medical certificate you will be asked to rebook.