The Social Security Terms and Conditions of Employment Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 came into force on 17 December 2021 as part of the Government’s efforts to free up GP time to prioritise the COVID-19 vaccine booster programme.
The new temporary legislation was passed to increase the period of time that an employee could be off work sick without a medical note. The Government said the measure was “intended to increase General Practice (GP) capacity to support the coronavirus vaccine booster programme by reducing the need for employees to visit their GP for medical evidence for the purposes of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)”.
The Regulations applied to England, Wales, and Scotland.
Employees could self-certify sickness for up to 28 days (previously 7 days). They only needed to attend a GP for a ‘fit note’ if they had been ill for more than 28 days and had taken sick leave. This included non-working days, such as weekends and bank holidays.
The regulations were limited to incapacity to work between 17 December 2021 to 26 January 2022, or which commenced prior to the Regulations coming into force but which have not lasted more than seven days on that date during that period employees did not need to provide medical evidence of their absence for up to 28 days.