Obtain a fitness for work note

The DWP has issued strict guidelines for doctors to follow when issuing Fitness for Work notes (formerly known as ‘sick notes’).

If the illness is:     

  • Less than 3 days: your employer should not require a Fitness for Work note
  • Between 3 and 7 days: you should hand your employer a "self certificate" (SC1). You do not need to see the doctor for this
  • More than 7 days: You will need a Fitness for Work note and must see the doctor to get one. It is only at 7 days that you need a doctors’ note. If you require a note covering illness when you saw a different doctor (e.g. casualty) the doctor at the surgery must be in receipt of written evidence that you saw another doctor.

Fitness for Work notes needed before 7 days illness will incur a charge that should be borne by your employer.

Please visit the Department for Work and Pensions website for more information.




There is no need to request a doctor’s certificate for the first seven days of any illness as you are entitled by law to self-certificate for this period (forms are available from your employer or from the Department of Work and Pensions). If you need a sickness certificate after that time you will need to see your doctor promptly. Unfortunately doctors cannot issue certificates without seeing you, and may not be able to back-date certificates. Official doctor’s sickness certificates are only valid for work and for unemployment benefit, and are not required for other purposes such as school or college absence, or in duplicate if you hold multiple jobs: If you need a note in these circumstances, the doctor will charge a fee.