Updated 8 Feb 2022
New temporay regulations have been passed so that a self-certificate may now cover up to 28 calendar days incapacity from work. Up to now, a self-certificate covered only 7 calendar days which has been the case for many years.
This change is effective from 17th December 2021 in England, Wales and Scotland.
This change is for a limited period which will have the following effect on a self-certificate as follows;
i) If the period of incapacity started before 17th December and
the incapacity has not lasted more than 7 days on 17th December
then the relevant self-certificate will be valid for 28 calendar days from the start date of the certificate.
ii) If a period of incapacity begins on 17th December, a self-certifcate from that date will be valid up to and including 26th January 2022.
It also seems that any period of incapacity arising between 17th December and 26th January 2022 will mean a self certicate will be valid for up to the maximum of 28 days. This particular point is subject to clarification.
The regulations are known as the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021. It appears that the changes have been made to alleviate the workloads for GPs and Doctors during the current crisis.
Caution – the above change has not been extended as far as the author is aware.
Therefore, only certificates completed on or before 26th January 2002 will remain valid for up to 28 days. New certificates will only be valid for 7 days as in the past. Managers would be wise to remind staff of this to avoid future disputes and potential loss of pay to staff.