Doctors issue fit notes to people to provide evidence of the advice they have given about their fitness for work. They record details of the functional effects of their patient’s condition so the patient and their employer can consider ways to help them return to work.
From April 2022 you may notice changes to the fit note you receive from your employees as a new version of the form is being rolled out.
The requirement for the doctor to sign the form in ink has been removed and replaced by the issuer’s name and profession being included in the form as a digital form of authorising.
There will be a period during which both the new and previous version of the fit notes are legally valid while GP systems are updated.
So from 6th April 2022, fit notes can now be signed and issued digitally and no longer need to be printed and signed.
This will reduce pressure on GPs, while simplifying the process of reporting sickness absences and receiving a fit note.
5 things to do if you are given a fit note by an employee
- Check whether your employee’s doctor has assessed that they are not fit for work or may be fit for work.
- Check how long your employee’s fit note applies for, and whether they are expected to be fit for work when their fit note expires.
- If your employee may be fit for work, discuss their fit note with them and see if you can agree any changes to help them come back to work while it lasts.
- If your employee is not fit for work, or if they may be fit for work but you can’t agree any changes, use the fit note as evidence for your sick pay procedures.
- Consider taking a copy of the fit note for your records