How the Fit Note works

Doing the right kind of work is good for your health, including if you have a health condition You don't always need to be fully recovered to go back to work, and in fact it can often help your recovery. Your fit note can help you go back to work when you're able to.

Your doctor will not automatically assess that you are not fit for work if you have a health condition. Instead, they will discuss with you how your health affects what you can do at work. They will think about your fitness for work in general rather than just your current job.

You should ask your doctor to give you practical advice in the fit note about what you can do at work, rather than simply record your health condition. You should then discuss this advice with your employer, to see if they can make any changes to help you return to work.

Getting a fit note

Sick notes have now been replaced by Fit Notes. For more information, please download and read this leaflet.

Your doctor will only give you a fit note if your health affects your fitness for work. The fit note is your property and you should keep it – your employer can take a copy if they want one for their records.

Your doctor cannot give you a fit note for non-medical problems (such as problems at home or relationship trouble at work). They may, however, be able to suggest other sources of help (some are listed in this leaflet).

Off work for less than seven days?

You do not need a Fit Note if you are off sick for seven calendar days or less, because you can self-certify your leave for this time. Go here to download a self-certification template which you can use to inform your employer of your situation.

Rules of the fit note

You should get a fit note from the doctor who is treating you. This will usually be your GP, but if you are getting treatment in hospital you should ask for one from your hospital doctor (if you don't already have one). Fit notes can either be handwritten or printed, but must be signed by a doctor. Duplicate fit notes can only be issued if the original has been lost.

The fit note is classed as advice from your doctor. Your employer can decide whether or not to accept it, and your doctor cannot get involved in any disputes between you and your employer. You may wish to seek help from a trade union or Acas in such situations.