GPs vote for employees to write their own two-week sick note: sensible suggestion or a longer skive?05 Jul 2016
Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) have voted in favour of employees self-certifying their absence from work for up to 14 days, in order to reduce GP workloads.
Currently, under the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) regime, employees are required to provide their employers with a GP note after just seven days of absence. It is now anticipated that that the BMA will lobby the Department for Work and Pensions for a change in the law.
Some commentators have queried whether the BMA’s proposal provides a green light for employees to take advantage by using the process to take a two week ‘holiday’.
Lorna Rigby, associate in the employment team at Kuits, comments: “Our view is that a change in the law would be completely at odds with the Government’s Fit for Work service, the aims of which are to get employees back to work, tackle the “sick-note” culture and reduce costs for the taxpayer and businesses.
“Allowing a longer period of self-certification could delay the employer obtaining a medical opinion for an employee’s absence, which hinders rather than helps the growing problem of employee absence.”
For now, the Department for Work and Pensions has no plans to change the existing policy but watch this space for any changes in law regarding SSP.
Lorna concludes: “A tip from us: If a company pays an employee company sick pay rather than SSP, an employer will not be prevented from insisting on medical evidence for any length of absence (however short).”
For further information on this topic, or to discuss our absence management training, get in touch with head of employment, Kevin McKenna, on 0161 832 3434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.