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Window for self-certifying sickness increases temporarily

As part of efforts to ease the burden on GPs, the Government has increased the self-certification period from a week to a month

SP Self cerification
The Government has temporarily increased the amount of time that employees can self-certify illness for.

The self-certification period has increased from the previous limit of seven days to 28 days as part of efforts to ease the burden on GPs in the face of burgeoning COVID-19 infection levels.

Employees will only need to attend a GP for a ‘fit note’ if they have been unwell for more than 28 days and have taken sick leave. The period includes non-working days, such as weekends and bank holidays.

The new measures apply only to periods of illness beginning before or on 26 January 2022.

Speaking earlier in the month, Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, highlighted that general practice was under intense workforce and workload pressures before the pandemic, but the COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated these.

“The relentless and escalating workload is taking its toll on the health and wellbeing of GPs and this must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said.