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23 Jun 2022

Recent changes to “fit notes”: what do employers need to know?

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New legislation permits fit notes to be certified by wider group of healthcare professionals

When an employee is off work for more than seven days their absence needs to be certified by way of a “Statement of Fitness for Work” (known as a "fit note"). Currently only doctors are able to certify and issue fit notes. New legislation, coming into force on 1 July 2022, will allow a wider group of registered health professionals to be able to certify and issue “fit notes”. This will include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and pharmacists. The legislative change is intended to reduce pressures on doctors.

Digital fit notes introduced

This is just one of the recent changes concerning the fit note. In April 2022, the government introduced legislation to implement digital fit notes. This means that fit notes can be issued digitally, rather than requiring a wet-ink signature.

What should employers do?

Employer should consider reviewing their sickness policies in staff handbooks and sickness provisions in contracts of employment and update as necessary.

If you have any queries on the topics covered in this alert or would like us to review your sickness provisions or policies, please get in touch with Paul Reeves, Leanne Raven or your usual Stephenson Harwood contact.

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KEY CONTACT

Paul Reeves

Paul Reeves
Head of employment

T:  +44 20 7809 2916 M:  +44 7919 694 135 Email Paul | Vcard Office:  London

Leanne Raven

Leanne Raven
Senior knowledge development lawyer

T:  +44 20 7809 2560 M:  +44 7827 353 108 Email Leanne | Vcard Office:  London