In an effort to assist with the vaccine effort, GPs have been given a temporary break from writing sick lines for employees.
Employees can traditionally self-certify for an absence from work lasting for up to seven days. After seven days, if the absence continues, the employee must procure a fit note from their GP. Legislation has been implemented to temporarily change these rules.
Effective from 17 December 2021, an employee can now self-certify for sickness absence from work for up to 28 days. Only after 28 days will it be necessary to procure a GP fit note. Technically the new rules will also cover any absences which started before 17th December but where the absence has not yet lasted long enough to trigger the need for a fit note. That could cover absences stemming back to 10 December 2021.
This is of course a temporary measure lasting until 26 January 2022 (someone who is absent starting on 26 January 2022 can still self-certify for 28 days). However, for absences starting on or after 27 January 2022, the self-certification period defaults back to the usual seven days.
Hopefully this measure will indeed assist with the vaccine process. Employers may have concerns about malingerers and whether there will be abuse of this system. Hopefully not and the fact that the Christmas holidays are in the middle of this window should help.
Employers should of course remind employees of the need to comply with the absence reporting requirements in place at the particular workplace.
If you have any questions about these new rules, please contact a member of the Blackadders Employment Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland.
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