HMRC have issued the following and asked that we share:
On 12th December, the Prime Minister launched the Omicron Emergency Boost, with the NHS expected to offer every eligible adult over the age of 18 a booster vaccination by 31st December. Developing this accelerated booster programme presents a huge challenge for the NHS and it has been asked to prioritise vaccinations and emergency care for the rest of the year. All General Practice teams are therefore being asked to clinically prioritise services to free up maximum capacity.
To support the government priority to increase GP capacity immediately and enable GPs to focus on the booster programme, DWP has taken the decision to temporarily increase the self-certification period for sickness absence from the current 7 days to 28 days. This change will take effect from today (Friday 17th December). The regulations can be found:
This change means that employees will not be required to provide their employer with medical evidence of sickness absence for the first 28 days of absence. Statutory Sick Pay will be payable during this period, where an employee meets the other qualifying conditions. This applies to any sickness absence which begins on or after 10th December 2021, up to and including any absences which begin on or before 26th January 2022. The guidance on gov.uk has been amended to reflect these changes. For any absences which begin on or after the 27th January, the self-certification period will be 7 days. GPs will still be required to supply fit notes for periods of absence that are longer than 28 days.
This is intended as a temporary measure to quickly maximise GP capacity to support the coronavirus booster campaign. As such, this is a strictly time-limited change and will end on 26th January 2022.
The government recognises that, throughout the pandemic, employers have been flexible about what, if any, evidence of sickness they require and appreciates their continued support in this national effort.