Fit Notes – Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need a Fit Note?

A fit note is only required if you have been unwell for more than 7 days. If you are unwell for less than 7 days you do not require a note from the GP. Instead you can self certify. In this case, your employer may require you to fill in a “Self Certification Form – SC2” which is available here.

Why do I need a Fit Note?

Your employer is ultimately responsible for deciding whether you are fit to work but a “fit note” from your GP gives you strong evidence that you are unwell to such a degree that it is be likely to affect your ability to work.

How is a “fit note” different from a “sick note”?

A fit note provides evidence on how your illness affects your ability to do any kind of work. They are not job specific.

Why does my note say that I “May be fit” to work?

The fit note is designed to give your employer sufficient information about what you can do at work. If no suitable alternative work can be found or changes can be made then you will likely be given time off work instead.

What do the tick boxes mean?

Tick boxes enable your doctor to indicate the kind of general adaptations that might help you return to work. This might be a phased return to work, altered hours, amended duties or workplace adaptations.

What about the comments box?

Your doctor can use the comments box to give you more detailed advice about the impact of your condition on what you can do at work.

Do I need another note if my employer asks for one?

A note which states that you “may be fit” for work does NOT need amending to “not fit” if your employer has stated that there is no alternative tasks available and you instead must be absent from work. The original note covers this situation.

Do I need a fit note to return to work?

No, you should return to work with your employer’s agreement as soon as you feel able to, even if this is before your fit note ends. You do not need to see the doctor prior to doing this. A doctor cannot give you a note stating that you are fit for work.

My employer refuses to recognise my fit note, what can I do?

The fit note is classed as advice from your doctor. Your employer can decide whether or not to accept it and your doctor cannot get involved in any disputes between you and your employer. You may wish to seek help from a trade union or Acas in such situations.

More information on Fit Notes is available from the website. The guidance for patients and employers is linked below.

Guidance for Patients and Employees

Guidance for Employers