Sickness or Health Issues

[Editor’s Note -This is a new section which will be expanded with additional topics].

Updated 09/02/2022

Rates for the current and previous year are given (The rates for the previous year rates are shown in brackets)

Self-Certificates for Sickness Absence – temporary change is expiring

Normally an employee is required to provide a self-certificate to cover the first 7 calendar days* of a period of sick absence. From the eighth consecutive day of absence, a medical certificate should be provided. That has been the requirement for many years.

To reduce the demands on GPs, a temporary change to the valid length of a self-certicate was made and has now expired. However, there are some time limited exceptions but those will also end shortly as noted next.

A self-certificate completed on:

– 26th January 2022 will still be vald for up to 28 calendar days i.e. up to and including 23rd February 2022 but not if the certificate was completed i.e. active more than seven days prior to 17th December 2021;
– A self-certficate completed before 26th January will be valid for more than 7 calendar days but will not be valid for more than 28 days from its active date.

To illustrate the Government’s principle – an employer may not require an employee to produce evidence of sickness or incapacity to work iff he/she is off work in the period beginning on or after 10th December 2021 until the absence has lasted more than 28 consecutive days. Hence, this exception does not apply to absences starting after 26th January 2022.

Temporary Change to Validity of Self-Certificates (Expired except for certain certificates)

[Editor’s Note – The text below will be deleted in the coming weeks as the exception above is also expiring.]

However, because of the current infection rates, a temporary change has been made. From 17th December 2021 a self-certificate may cover up to 28 calendar days incapacity from work.

This change is effective from 17th December 2021 in England, Wales and Scotland. In practice this means that:

  • If a period of incapacity begins on 17th December, a self-certificate from that date will be valid to cover an absence due to sickness up to and including 26th January 2022 or a lesser period of absence or
  • 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.

It also seems that any period of incapacity arising between 17th December and 26th January 2022 could 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

TIP – some employers may have more beneficial terms for sickness and different requirements for notification of sickness. However, most employers will be obliged to accept this temporary change to the period for which a self-certifcate is valid.

Statutory Sick Pay known as SSP ~/

Employers often have different pay and conditions to qualify for payment of sickness absence which you should find in your terms of appointment. Some employers will just pay lthe minimum sick pay and period set by the Government which is reviewed usually from April each year.

Current rate = £99.35 (£96.35) – maximum entitlement of 28 weeks whether consecutive weeks.or linked periods of sick absence.