Self Certification of Absence from Work

Sick at Work

Self certification of absence from work is a process in which UK employers can monitor their employee's sick days without worrying about doctor approval. The requirements for sick days in the United Kingdom can vary from one employer to the next, but all employers have had to adjust how they monitor short-term sickness absences due to changes in the ways doctors provide excuses.

Self Certification Rules to Follow

Self certification systems are now in place with most employers. Doctors have changed their policies on issuing certifications for absences from work, especially those lasting fewer than eight days. These can still be paid for, but most employers have moved to a system in which they monitor employees missed days independently. Putting in place a system like this has proven to be very beneficial and easy to manage for most employers.

In the UK, employers must keep an accurate record of sickness according to the Statutory Sick Pay laws. The rules apply to any employee who, due to personal sickness, is not at work. Injuries are also included. In most situations, the self certification does not pertain to other reasons for absences, including family problems. Any current rules about absences are still in force, in terms of how to deal with and allow absences.

The self certification system puts in place a policy in regards to how employees should notify their employers of their absence. For example, all employees must notify their employer prior to 10 am. Most will require either a telephone call or a message sent to the direct supervisor. This notification is to happen on the first day of absence and any day after if the employer has not already been notified of that day's absence. The notification also must state the reason for the absence, including any injury or illness description. At the first notification, the approximate duration of the illness needs conveyed.

Managing the Self Certification of Absence from Work Systems

The self certification system allows for the ease of record keeping on behalf of the management team. When someone is going to be absent from work for seven days or less, they must call and report the absence as soon as possible on the first day. Then, the individual must obtain the proper form from his or her direct supervisor, called a self certification form, the first day back to work. The form must include the reason for the individual's absence, lenghth of time absent and the signatures of the employee's direct manager or supervisor and the employee.

The absence of an employee for more than seven consecutive days will require a doctor's medical certificate. This certificate must be obtained by the employee who missed work, and it must be returned to the employer prior to returning to work. If the absence is from an injury or there are several long-term absences like this, the employer has the right to require a physical examination by a qualified medical practitioner prior to the return of work showing you are fit to work.

Your employer may require a report from your doctor, and may approach the doctor for it, but only after getting your written consent to do so first. The employer can easily use employee records to keep records of sick pay, either electronically or in paper, for later reporting requirements.

Getting Paid for Absences

Self certification of absence from work requires some investment of understanding your employer's requirements. For example, the company will have in place their requirements for paid sick days. Most companies in the UK present a specific yearly entitlement of sick days. Any days, either self certified or doctor certified will count towards that allotment in terms of pay.

If the company does not have this type of paid sick level in place, they are not obligated to provide it.

Most employers will limit or withhold payment of sick time, if included in your employment contract, if there is a suspicion of abuse of the self certification system.

All employees must receive fair warning and training on the sick time policy within the company.

Self Certification of Absence from Work