Human Resources

Fit Notes - Employee Information

What is a ‘Fit note’?

The ‘Fit note’ was been introduced by the Government to replace the ‘sick note’ issued by your GP and the change will be effective from 6 April 2010. The ‘fit note’ is called the ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’.

Click the linke to view a sample of the 'Fit Note'

Research shows that long periods out of work can lead to worse health while working can be good for your physical and mental health and well-being. The longer you are absent through illness, the lower are the chances of you returning to work. The fit note has been introduced to enable people with a medical condition to return to work with suitable support from their employer and means staff may continue to carry out some work as they recover from their condition.

What's different about the ‘Fit note’?

The key difference is that your GP will now be able to make suggestions that could help you to return to work such as

  • returning to work gradually, for example, by starting part-time
  • working different hours temporarily
  • doing different duties or tasks
  • making changes to your workplace to help you do your job or part of your job

What if I am not well enough to work?

Your GP will advise that you are unfit for work on the Statement and you should send this to your manager or another designated person. Your GP will state the period that you are to refrain from working.

What if my GP’s advise is ‘may be fit for work’?

Depending upon your illness or medical condition, your GP may advise that you are able to do some work. In this case, they will provide advice on the Statement indicating how the College may support and facilitate your return to work.

You should inform your manager as soon as practicable of the advice you have been given by your GP and send the Statement to them or another designated person. Your manager will consider your GP’s advice, discuss the support that we can provide for you and agree a timeframe for this support. Your manager may seek further advice depending upon the suggestions made by your GP and may need to carry out a risk assessment.

Your GP will also provide general details of the functional effect of your medical condition and may advise that an occupational health report is sought to facilitate a return. The advice given by the GP is not binding on the employer but is a suggestion of what, in their medical opinion, may help the person to return to work.

To facilitate a return to work, it is important that the issues are discussed openly and honestly about how your illness will affect you at work so that we can provide the right support to help you return to work.

If we mutually agree that it is not possible for you to return to work, you will continue to benefit from the occupational sick pay scheme and we will agree a review date. You will not have to return to your GP for a new Statement.

If you do not wish to accept the offer of a supported return to work, you will need to explain and discuss the reasons for this with your manager who may seek further advice from your GP and/or occupational health.

Returning to work

You will normally return to work on your next normal working day following the expiry of the Statement provided by your GP. However, in some cases, your GP may wish to see you again before you may return to work and this will be stated on the form.

How long is the GP’s advice in place for?

The GP will state the period that the advice in the Statement covers. The Statement may cover a period of up to a maximum of 3 months during the first 6 months of sickness. The Statement refers to calendar days and it is important for statutory sick pay purposes to report the full period of absence including weekends. For managing and monitoring absence the College’s policy relates to working days.

If you recover more quickly than anticipated you may be able to return before the expiry of the Statement subject to agreement by the College.

What does not change?

  • The Statement is still not required until after the 7th calendar day of sickness.
  • The requirements for the payment of Statutory Sick Pay have not changed.
  • The College’s obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act have not changed.
  • If you have been a hospital in-patient you will still be issued with a Med 10 form (yellow) to confirm the dates of your stay.
back to top
The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX