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Introduction to this document

Letter chasing statement of fitness for work

Use our letter to notify an employee who has failed to respond to a previous request to provide a statement of fitness for work, or fit note, for sickness absence lasting more than seven days of the consequences of not doing so.

A missing fit note

Where an employee has been absent from work due to sickness for more than seven calendar days, they need to provide you with a statement of fitness for work, or fit note, signed by their GP. They can only self-certify their sickness absence for the first seven calendar days. In most cases, the employee will send you the fit note without any problems or delays. However, if they don’t, our Letter Requiring Statement of Fitness for Work enables you to request them to provide it. You might use it either when no fit note is produced after seven calendar days of sickness absence, or when an existing fit note expires during long-term sickness absence but without a new one being submitted. But what if you still don’t hear anything from the employee?

Chaser letter

Our Letter Chasing Statement of Fitness for Work is a second attempt at contact with the employee and it can be used either where they remain off sick or where they’ve now returned to work but their missing fit note covering some of their period of sickness absence remains outstanding. Our letter states that the employee has so far failed to provide the fit note and therefore they should now do so as a matter of urgency. However, rather than leaving it open-ended, we’ve given them an absolute deadline date to do this by. Allow at least five working days, possibly up to ten, to enable the employee to arrange a GP’s appointment if necessary. We’ve alternatively said that the employee should get in contact to explain the delay if it’s legitimate or if there are extenuating circumstances. Make sure you also confirm what period you expect the missing fit note to cover. Finally, we’ve warned the employee that if they fail to make contact or provide the fit note, you’ll have no option but to treat their uncertified absence as unauthorised, which is a serious disciplinary offence and could result in disciplinary action being taken against them under your disciplinary procedure. It may even amount to gross misconduct. It’s important that the employee is made fully aware of the consequences of their continued non-compliance with your request for medical evidence to support their sickness absence.

Reasonable approach

Always be reasonable when chasing up medical evidence of incapacity, i.e. only use our letter where you genuinely believe that the employee should be able to provide you with a fit note. If, for example, you know the employee has been in hospital for over seven days due to a medical emergency, don’t use it. In those circumstances, in due course the employee should be able to produce a Form Med 10, signed by a hospital doctor, covering their period in hospital as an inpatient. The hospital doctor may also issue them with a fit note on discharge from hospital to cover a forward period - this is to avoid unnecessary referrals to GPs solely for the purpose of sickness certification.