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Fit Notes: Checklist for Employees and Employers

Also known as: ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’, ‘Fit Notes’ and ‘Med 3 Form’ (or ‘Med 10 Form’ if following hospital treatment).

As of 2022, fit notes:

  • Can be certified by not only doctors/general practitioners (GPs), but also, nurses, occupational health therapists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists (collectively referred to as ‘healthcare professionals’ below).
  • Can be issued digitally (digital fit notes have been embedded within IT systems of primary care settings (GP), but they are not currently available from secondary care settings such as hospitals (this is likely to happen soon)).

Employers must keep the employee’s information confidential and only share it within the company with those who genuinely need it, ie, HR department. The employee must be informed about how their information will be stored and for how long.

Employee

You can self-certify your absence for the first seven-calendar days (this includes weekends and bank holidays).

Employer

If you require medical evidence during the first seven days of the employee’s absence, the employee’s healthcare professional may charge a fee so you should cover this fee.

Employers and Employees

The name of the issuer, the profession, and the address of the medical practice should be completed to make it a valid form. If you receive an old template (Med3 2017), then the fit note must be signed in ink by the healthcare professional.

Employers and Employees

The length of the fit note will depend on the healthcare professional’s clinical judgment.

In the first six months of an employee’s health condition, a fit note can only be issued for three months at a time. A review date can be set, if needed, to review the employee’s condition.

Employee

Provide a copy of the fit note to your employer as soon as possible (try to retain an original or a copy for yourself).

Ensure you maintain reasonable (this can be agreed with the employer) contact with your employer.

Suggest workplace modifications (when you are ready to) that your employer can consider (provided they are reasonable requests).

Employer

Take a copy of the fit note for your records (the employee should keep the original).

Check how long the employee’s fit note applies for. The fit note will cover the duration that the employee is likely to require off work. A review date may be set by the healthcare professional. The employee may be entitled to Company Sick Pay (if applicable) or Statutory Sick Pay.

Suggest workplace modifications that may help the employee return to work.

If you need to request an employee’s medical records, then you must obtain their written consent.

You need to maintain reasonable (this can be agreed with the employee) contact with the employee for the duration of their fit note to see if/when they are ready to return and how you can help them to return to work (when they are ready to). ACAS provides advice on keeping in touch during absence.

You may need to refer the employee to Occupational Health, which may be helpful if you are dealing with a complex condition and/or if the employee has been off work for a prolonged period of time. Written consent would be required before making a referral.

Employee

Provide a copy of the fit note to your employer as soon as possible (try to retain an original or a copy for yourself).

Ensure you maintain reasonable (this can be agreed with the employer) contact with your employer.

Suggest workplace modifications that may help you return to work. The employer does not have to agree to all your suggestions if they are not ‘reasonable’.

Employer

Take a copy of the fit note for your records (the employee should keep the original).

The options from the fit note form and examples of the general adaptions to consider are:

  • A phased return to work: a gradual increase in work duties or hours.
  • Altered hours: changes to the times or duration of work.
  • Amended duties: changing duties to take account of a condition.
  • Workplace adaptations: changing aspects of the workplace, including working from home.

Check how long the employee’s fit note applies for. The fit note will cover the duration that the employee is likely to need adaptions at work. A review date may be set by the healthcare professional.

If you need to request an employee’s medical records, then you must obtain their written consent.

You need to maintain reasonable (this can be agreed with the employee) contact with the employee for the duration of their fit note to see if you need to review any workplace modifications.

You may need to carry out a risk assessment to accommodate the advice on the fit note, ie, if the fit note states the employee needs to avoid working night shifts, you are liable if you give them night shifts.

You may need to refer the employee to Occupational Health, which may be helpful if you are dealing with a complex condition and/or if the employee has been off work for a prolonged period of time. Written consent would be required before making a referral.

For more information, please review the government guidance on getting the most out of the fit note: Guidance for Employers and Line Managers

Disclaimer

Please note that the information contained in this web page is provided for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute any form of legal or other professional advice, and you should not use it as a substitute for advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

We disclaim all and any liability for any actions you take (or omit to take) in reliance upon the contents of this web page.

If you want specific advice, please contact us directly via enquiries@thrivelaw.co.uk.

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