As part of the Government’s efforts to free up GP time to prioritise the COVID-19 vaccine booster programme, new emergency legislation has been passed to increase the period of time that an employee can be off work sick without a medical note.

Under normal arrangements, employees are required to provide evidence of sickness from a medical professional for sickness-related absences of seven days or more in order to benefit from Statutory Sick Pay.

On 16th December 2021, this legislation was laid before Parliament which temporarily extends this period from seven days to 28 days, meaning employees are only required to provide medical evidence for sickness absences of 28 days or more.

The revised legislation is limited to sickness spells (incapacity for work) which either start during the period of 17th December 2021 to 26 January 2022, or which commence prior to the Regulations coming into force but which have not lasted more than seven days on that date – i.e. as at 17 December, the employee has not yet been off work for seven days and is therefore not yet at the point of having to provide medical evidence of their absence.

This easement does not currently apply in Northern Ireland.

To see more, in what is probably one of the shortest statutory instruments the details can be found – The Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021.

If your business requires help and advice regarding any of the matters in this article, speak to one of our experienced HR Consultants today.