Temporary changes to self-certification for sickness absence
The Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 came into force on 17 December 2021 and modify the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1985 to provide that an employee shall not be required to provide medical information in respect of the first 28 days of any spell of incapacity for work.
Under the Medical Evidence Regulations 1985 employers can require an employee to provide medical evidence after seven days of sickness absence. The increase is intended to increase GP capacity to support the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme by reducing the need for employees to visit their GP for medical evidence for the purposes of statutory sick pay.
The 2021 Regulations are limited to periods of incapacity for work starting during the period from 17 December 2021 to 26 January 2022, or which commence prior to 17 December 2021 but which have not lasted more than 7 days on that date (so that the requirement to provide medical evidence has not yet arisen). Any ongoing spells of incapacity which commenced prior to 26 January 2022 and are ongoing will be covered.
The guidance 'Statutory Sick Pay: employee fitness to work' has been updated and confirms that if an employee is off sick on or after 10 December 2021 and up to and including 26 January 2022, an employer cannot ask them for proof of sickness until they have been off for 28 days or more.