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26.03.2010 New 'fit note' to replace Doctor's sick note

Statement of Fitness for Work (Fit Note)


Returning to work after illness

On the 6th April 2010 the Government is to officially replace the employee ‘sick note’ that you may receive when visiting your Doctor with a new ‘fit note’.

Along with your employer’s support, the new fit note will help you return to work sooner by providing more information about the effects of your illness or injury.  The fit note will outline what work an employee can do and is there to help people stay in work.

Why has the new fit note been developed ?

The new fit note has been developed following widespread consultation and with the support of leading health professionals, employer representatives and trade unions.  The official title of the new fit note is the ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ and will be used in England, Scotland and Wales. It will have more information than the present Doctor’s sick note.

The key changes will mean:

  • your Doctor will be able to say if they think you are ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work’
  • your Doctor can add advice to the note for your employer on how simple changes to the job you do may allow you to return to work earlier
  • there will be fewer kinds of medical statements forms issued by Doctors’

How the key changes will help employees & employers

Proven studies have shown that long periods out of work can lead to worse health while working can actually be good for your physical as well as your mental health & wellbeing. Studies also show that the longer you are absent through illness, the less likely you are to return to work. Indeed, work may help you recover quicker from illness.

The new fit note is intended for both employees and employers by helping people back to work as soon as possible. Employees may benefit from better health & wellbeing because they have returned to work. Employers will be able to keep skilled staff, contributing to the success of the business and thereby reducing sickness absence.

What should I do when my Doctor gives me a fit note ?

If you are given a fit note by your Doctor you should treat it in the same manner as the previous sick note and provide a copy to your employer. You should also be prepared to talk to your employer about any guidance that your Doctor has provided on the fit note.

Further information can be found by visiting:


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