14 days without a doctor’s note?
At the GMA annual conference on 22 June, a motion was passed proposing that the certification of fitness to work should be removed from GPs and for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to establish their own means of determining benefits.
Senior doctors called for a move from 7-day to 14-day self-certification, the aim being to ease the considerable strain currently placed on GP practices to provide sick notes for employees who very clearly have an illness that is going to last a considerable time.
Is this going to be the new law?
The DWP said that they believe the current system “supports individuals and employers without overburdening GPs. We have no plans to change the existing policy”. However, balancing the burden on GP practices, (as business themselves) with the needs of employers in managing absence is something which, ultimately, must be addressed.
How could this affect businesses?
GP leaders are saying that we need to empower and trust patients more but, would employers be willing to take the risk that some employees abuse this? The proposal has already been characterised as a potential “skiver’s charter”.
At present, an employee can self-certify for 7 days as long as they comply with their company’s policies. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will come into effect after an employee has been sick for 4 days in a row (this can include non-working days). Doubling the time for an employee to self-certify could pose significant challenges, particularly to SMEs.
If you would like to know more about managing absence, statutory sick pay or company sickness policies, please contact email@example.com