A Fit-to-Work Certificate is a formal document issued by a physician or a medical professional that reports if an employee is fit or unfit to work or fit to work but subject to work modifications. The decision is based on the consideration of the physical and psychological fitness of an employee after tests were conducted by a medical practitioner.
Aside from the decision of a medical professional to allow an employee to work, a fit-to-work certificate also testifies that an employee has been treated for the illness or injury that caused him or her to be unable to report to work. Another common purpose of the certificate is to inform a company during an applicant’s pre-employment that the applicant is fit and capable of handling the responsibilities assigned to the position that he or she is applying for — proven after undergoing a series of physical and medical examinations.
Primarily, a fit-to-work certificate is used to determine an employee’s capability to perform tasks under certain working conditions. An employer is allowed to require an employee to provide a fit-to-work certificate issued by a medical professional to ensure that an employee is able to work safely under certain conditions. When requested, it may be due to company policy or government regulations that make the examination mandatory. It could also help identify if an employee’s medical condition poses a threat to others’ health or not. In any case, an employer cannot ask for specific medical findings and diagnoses from a health professional; he or she can only request a fit-to-work assessment for appropriate reasons that do not violate health privacy laws. In addition, it is the duty of an employer to accommodate its employees, ensuring that all attempts have been executed to modify the job, the job requirements, or the working conditions to allow an employee to continue working safely and does put the health of other employees at risk.
In general, an employer will inform an employee during the interview or in writing to request the latter to undergo a medical assessment. If an employer does not have an in-house medical professional, it must provide specific details about the job that an employee has, including the job requirements and the working conditions so that a fit-to-work evaluation can be done accurately.
A fit-to-work certificate contains the information of an employee and his or her medical certification. It is completed by a physician or medical professional to attest that an employee is fit or unfit to work or fit to work but subject to work conditions.
Using PDFRun’s Fit to Work Certificate, you can write a medical certificate in minutes. Follow the guide below to fill out the form accurately.
Provide the following information for the proper identification of an employee:
- Employee Name
- ID No.
- Job Title
- Home Address
- Date of Leave of Absence Began
- Date Employee Will or Did Return to Work
Provide the information of a physician or medical professional who conducted the medical assessment and the certification of whether an employee is allowed to return to work or not.
For a fit-to-work certificate to be valid, it must be signed and dated by a physician or medical professional.
When is a fit-to-work certificate required?
Employers are required to submit fit-to-work certificates for employees who are terminated due to medical conditions. It is also required for employees who took days off work due to health reasons. Moreover, employers will require you to submit a fit-to-work certificate before you can return back to work. Employers should not refuse job offers to those without fit-to-work certificates as long as they are healthy and capable of doing the job.
Since fit-to-work certificates are often required before you can return back to work. This requirement pushes people to return to work even if they cannot perform their job duties. This may not be a wise decision at all. Therefore, we suggest that you think cautiously about returning back to work with your doctor's approval and on the conditions of your employer.
Who can issue a fit-to-work certificate?
A doctor or health care professional from the healthcare facility where you are being treated for your illness, injury, or medical condition can issue you a fit-to-work certificate. The doctor needs to have a diploma in medicine and surgery. Only qualified doctors may issue a fit-to-work certificate. Moreover, if your medical case is specific, only a specialist in that field or a doctor from the same team of healthcare professionals can issue you a fit-to-work certificate. The process of issuing the fit-to-work certificate needs to be carried out in accordance with current legislation and medical practice. In other words, an unfit person cannot be sent home by their specialized doctor in order to be issued a fit-to-work certificate by their general practitioner.
Do I need a certificate to say I am fit for work?
You need to present a fit-to-work certificate to your employer when you took days off work due to medical reasons. It is to confirm that you are now fit to return to work and no longer need to take sick leave. Its main purpose is to know that your condition is now stable enough for you to go back to work.
A fit-to-work certificate is given once a doctor thinks you are ready to return back to work after taking leave for medical reasons. The certificate should mention the specific date on which you will be able to return to duties as confirmed by your doctor. It also covers details about the medical condition for which you had to take leave, along with its diagnosis. It is called a fit-to-work certificate because it is issued by your doctor who has medically evaluated you and says that at present you are fit enough to return back to work.
Why is my doctor not willing or unable to issue a fit-to-work certificate and what should I do?
Your doctor may feel that your health condition or problem still needs more monitoring or treatment before you can go back to working full-time.
If your doctor is not willing to give you a fit-to-work certificate, here are some of the things you should do:
- Have a check-up from another doctor to get a different opinion on your condition — In some instances, doctors tend to be secretive with their diagnosis or withhold certain information from patients. It is possible that the other doctor you consult will see your case in a different light and recommend ongoing treatment. In other cases, the other doctor might completely contradict your original doctor’s diagnosis and tell you to go back to work. In which case, this will add more weight to your employer's side when giving you a fit-to-work certificate. The bottom line is that getting a second opinion can't hurt if things are unclear.
- If your doctor doesn't want to give you a fit-to-work certificate, ask him to write a note giving more details on your condition and prognosis — Your medical notes should have detailed information on your diagnosis, treatment, and extent of your medical condition. In the absence of a fit-to-work certificate, you can ask your doctor to write a note that would serve the same purpose. When writing the note, keep in mind that it should be detailed enough for an employer to accept it as evidence of your fitness status. If your doctor's notes are not comprehensive enough, you may have to supply supplementary information. You can outline important details such as what you can do at work, how much rest you need between shifts, and whether or not there are certain tasks that should be avoided.
- Get your employer to speak with your doctor directly — Your employer may want to talk to the other side before making a decision on whether they should give you a fit-to-work certificate. On your part, you can ask your employer if this is necessary and request that they give you a list of questions before calling the doctor. This way, your employer will be able to present specific concerns and relevant questions to the other side so as not to waste everyone's time and resources. It is also possible that your employer might get a better idea of the situation if they talk to your doctor directly.
- Tell your employer that it is up to them whether they give you a fit-to-work certificate or not — It may be helpful to come out and explicitly state that it is your employer's decision whether or not to give you the fit-to-work certificate. You can then go on to say that it is up to him or her whether they accept your doctor's note, second opinion, or whatever else he may require from your doctor. It may also help to remind your employer that a fit-to-work certificate is not mandatory in every case. If your doctor feels that there is no medical reason to prevent you from returning to work, then he does not have to issue one.
- Ask for a statement of fitness-to-work instead if the fit-to-work certificate is not necessary — Your employer might be willing to accept that your doctor's written opinion is enough proof that you can go back to work. They might be willing to accept a letter from the doctor in which he states that there is no medical reason for you not to return to work. You can ask your employer for what is called a statement of fitness-to-work, in writing or verbally if necessary, stating that you are fit to work. You may have to make a call on whether or not it is worth coming out and asking for this statement of fitness-to-work, depending on how things are going throughout the process.
Is fit to work and medical certificate the same?
A fit-to-work certificate and a medical certificate are documents that state whether a person is appropriate to work or not. If the person is determined to be fit to work, they are thus able to work at their job. On the other hand, if they are found not to be fit to work, then they cannot do the kind of work that they do.
By definition, a fit-to-work certificate is an official document that shows whether or not a person can return to work. The doctor who issues it says whether the patient's status has changed, so they are able to do their job again. It is issued by a doctor who has examined the patient and found that he or she is able to return to work or can do their job with appropriate changes in circumstances, such as working from home, taking more frequent breaks than previously, reducing hours, or adapting the job. The diagnosis on which this information is based cannot be "Fit for Work" as that wording is not to be used until a person can return to work.
A medical certificate may say when someone should be released for work in accordance with medical advice. Moreover, a medical certificate may say whether a person's health is likely to get worse or not, which affects their ability to work.
How long does a fit-to-work certificate last?
A fit-to-work certificate lasts for six months, as long as the claimant is under the care of a doctor. A claimant who returns to work before the end of six months must inform their employer in writing, but they are not required to provide any evidence that they are able to perform their job until they have been at work for four weeks.
While it is up to employers whether or not they request fit-to-work certificates from new employees, existing staff are required to provide one on request.
There is more than one kind of fit-for-work certificate. The majority are provided by a doctor or other medical professional and take the form of a letter or form completed by them, which states whether they think the claimant would be able to work. Medical professionals must provide such a certificate if they believe the claimant would be able to work within three months, and include an estimate of how long they believe it would take before the claimant was fit for work.
Can I get signed off work with anxiety?
Your doctor may sign you off work if your anxiety is so intense that it leaves you unable to function, or anxious feelings are greatly impacting your daily life. Moreover, your doctor may even recommend that you see a counselor to help deal with your anxiety. It is recommended that you contact your doctor as soon as possible if you feel that your anxiety is becoming a problem. Your employer may get involved if your anxiety is impacting productivity at work.
Many people with anxiety disorders are able to continue working provided they have flexible hours or a reduced workload from their employer. It is important that you speak to your doctor and employer about how best to achieve this though, as employees who feel pressured by their employer in any way may experience increased feelings of stress.
Can an employer call your doctor to verify the note?
Your employer may call your doctor about your fit-to-work certificate. Your employer may call your doctor about your fit-to-work certificate. If your employer would like to speak with the healthcare professional who completed the fit note, they will need to contact you for permission. You can opt in or out of this when you return your fit note to your employer - there is space on the form for you to do so. Opting in means that your employer will be able to contact the healthcare professional who provided the fit note while opting out means they won't be able to speak with them.
It is often worth speaking with your doctor before returning a fit note to your employer if you are considering opting in or out of this. If you opt in, the doctor might ask you for your employer's contact details to enable them to be contacted directly. If you opted in, but change your mind and wish the doctor not to disclose any information about the fit note to your employer, this should be discussed with them before returning a completed fit note to your employer.
Make sure your employer has your up-to-date contact details so that they can get in touch with you quickly if they need to.
It is worth noting that it is not compulsory for a healthcare professional to agree to be contacted by an employer when providing fit note information.
If the doctor doesn't have enough space on the form to give full details of your fit note, they should give this information verbally to you first and then write it down for you to give to your employer.
Your employer is legally allowed to ask for reasonable details about your fit note. They can't, however, ask what illness or injury you have. Your employer may request further information under the Data Protection Act 1998, but this information cannot be disclosed without your consent.
You should tell the doctor if you do not want your employer to see any of the details on the fit note that refer to your medical condition or symptoms. You'll then need to complete a separate form for your employer with these details omitted. You can give this directly to them, or ask the doctor to do it for you.
Can an employer insist on a fit-to-work note?
Your employer may insist on a fit-to-work note if you are absent from work for more than 7 days (including weekends and bank holidays), except when you're off sick because of pregnancy.
If you're unable to return to work at the end of your maternity leave, your employer may require you to give notice in writing that you plan to extend this period or start taking unpaid parental leave.
Who decides if you are fit to work?
Your doctor is the one who decides if you are fit to work. Depending on your health condition, he or she will determine if you are able to perform certain types of work or whether you should avoid some activities.
If your doctor says that you can't work at all, this means that you are not fit to do any type of job. If your doctor says that you can only do very light tasks, even work around the house, this means that you are fit to do some work, even if it is just simple jobs.
The decision on what kind of work you are allowed to do depends on your health condition. Your employer should not make this decision.
If your doctor says you are fit to work but your employer doesn't agree, your employer should send you back to your doctor for a second opinion. Nevertheless, your employer can't keep sending you back to your doctor and can't make you go for medical tests over and over again.
Employers should not discriminate against employees who are off sick, by asking them to come into work or by paying them less than other workers. They also should not force ill people to undergo any medical procedures such as drug testing. Also, employers do not have the right to demand a doctor's certificate from employees who need time off for sick leave or parental leave.
Can my boss contact me when I am off sick?
As a sign of respect, your boss should not contact you when you are off sick. Only in very exceptional cases can they contact you or expect a phone call from you.
In most workplaces, there is usually a minimum level of concern when an employee has been off sick for at least a week. Many companies have a "duty of care" with regard to employees who are off sick and will want to ensure that the person is being looked after and is recovering from their illness. Although you should be given some time away from work, your employer may also want to ensure that you are getting better quickly because of the impact it can have on other members of staff if one person is off sick for extended periods of time. That said, there will still come a point where your boss will want to contact you. If they are concerned about your health or the length of time you've been absent, they may call you although this needs to be done in a sensitive manner and should only happen in very exceptional circumstances. On the other hand, if your boss is simply chasing up some outstanding work or wants to ask you about coming back to work, this shouldn't happen while you're still off sick.
If your boss does call while you're ill, remember that the best way to deal with it is by remaining calm and polite at all times. The conversation should be brief; if your boss is simply trying to get an update on your recovery then ask them to send an email or letter. If they do call while you're still off sick, stay calm and polite at all times because you may get a reputation for being difficult if you get frustrated with your boss over the phone. In addition, don't forget that if they feel uncomfortable speaking about certain issues on the phone then it's probably best to wait until you return so they can ask you in person.
If your boss regularly contacts you when you're off sick, it may be time for a chat about boundaries and expectations. Remember that this is an important discussion and doesn't just apply to illness. If they're contacting you when you're sick just for the sake of it, speak with them about this. If they need to speak to you then say that they can phone at a certain time, just be careful not to give them too much notice. If your boss keeps expecting you to contact them when you're off sick, all it's going to do is undermine your recovery and make the situation worse.
Can you get fired for a fake doctor’s note?
Providing your employer with a fake doctor's note can be a ground for termination. Falsely reporting a health issue to avoid completing a job requirement can give your employer reason enough to terminate you. However, having an actual medical condition and calling in sick due to it will likely not result in termination; especially if the illness would put other employees and customers at risk.
Do employers verify medical certificates?
Employers may verify medical certificates to determine if an employee is fit for duty. Moreover, employers are entitled to ask employees returning to work after an absence for illness or injury to provide a medical certificate confirming that the employee is again fit for duty. However, employers cannot randomly request medical certificates. They can only do so if they suspect that an employee is not fit for duty and require proof of fitness before allowing him or her to resume work.
What is the difference between a sick note and a fit note?
A sick note and a fit note are the not same thing.
A sick note is signed by a doctor and states the date when the patient was seen by the doctor. It is usually valid for up to 7 days after the date it was written. However, some companies can ask for it to be much longer than this — up to 3 months.
A fit note is signed by a doctor and states the date when the patient was seen, but it can also include information about what type of work they are able to do. This allows the individual to return to work earlier if their condition has improved since they were off ill. A doctor may advise that you must not do certain types of work or certain activities.
Both are used to prove that an individual has been ill and could return to work earlier if their condition had improved. It does not mean they are not fit to work.