A fit note is also called a statement of fitness for work. You can give it to your employer as proof if you've been off sick for more than 7 days.
A doctor decides if your health or treatment has affected your ability to work. They can give you (issue) a fit note to tell your employer that you:
- are not fit for work
- might be fit for work if the employer follows the advice written in the fit note
GOV.UK also has information about fit notes.
When you should get a fit note
7 days or less off work
If you cannot work for 7 days or less, your employer should not ask for a fit note. You can confirm yourself that you were ill. This is called self-certification.
Your employer can give you information on self-certification.
More than 7 days off work
If you have treatment at the hospital and they think you cannot work for more than 7 days in a row, you can ask a hospital doctor for a fit note.
You can ask for a fit note if you are an inpatient (staying in hospital overnight) or an outpatient (coming to a clinic or an appointment).
If you get a fit note while you are in hospital, you do not have to make an appointment with your GP for a fit note.
How to get a fit note
If you feel you need a fit note, tell the doctor or nurse caring for you. It's important to tell them before you leave the hospital.
The hospital doctor can give you a fit note. They assess your needs, and work with you to decide what arrangements would be best for your fit note.
If you need time off work, your hospital doctor will decide the best length of time for the fit note to cover. After this time, you might need another review of your ability to work.
The hospital doctor gives you a fit note to cover the time for your treatment and recovery.
You can visit your GP if you need another fit note to cover a longer period of time.
The hospital doctor might agree to extend your fit note if you will have more treatment under their care.