In December 2021 the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 that were introduced by the DWP and HMRC meant that the rules around self-certification of sickness absence changed.
The regulations extended the period in which an employee could self-certify their absence before having to provide a fit note to their employer to 28 days. The reason for this change was to ease the workload for GPs and leave them more time to assist with the roll out of the booster programme.
As of 27 January 2022, the temporary change in the law has ended and the self-certification period has reverted back to seven days.
The temporary change applied to absence periods which began on or after 10 December 2021. It is important to note that if the absence began before 27 January 2022 the temporary rule change will continue to apply.
The other rules regarding SSP remain in place. An important thing to remember is that if an employee does not inform you of their illness then SSP may be withheld for the days they were eligible to receive it but did not inform you. However, payment cannot be withheld if an employee has notified you of their sickness but is late in providing evidence.
Where an employer is concerned that the employee may not be genuinely unfit for work, HMRC advises that a standard doctor’s certificate or “fit note” should be accepted as conclusive proof of incapacity for SSP purposes, unless there is very strong evidence to the contrary.
The end of these temporary changes will be seen as good news by many employers who were unaware of the planned revisions to the self-certification rules.
If you have any questions on any of the issues mentioned in the above article, please contact Natalia Milne.