If you are ill and off work for three days or less then you are not required to do anything other than inform your employer, if you have one. If you are ill and off work for longer than three days then you may be able to claim sickness benefit (if self-employed or unemployed) or statutory sick pay (if you are employed and have worked for your employer for long enough). Sickness benefit can be claimed using form SC1 (available at the surgery, hospitals, your employer and Benefits Agency offices), and statutory sick pay using for SC2 (available from your employer). Both of these forms will cover for your absence from work due to illness up to and including the seventh day of illness.
If you are ill and off work for seven days or more, you will need to be seen by the doctor to obtain a certificate. If you cannot see a doctor exactly on the seventh day of illness, don’t worry, as certificates can be backdated. Each subsequent certificate will need to be obtained after reviewing the situation with your doctor until your return to work. Your doctor may be able to provide you with a certificate without having to see you if you are off work following recent treatment from a hospital doctor, or following a recent hospital admission.
If you are ill and off work continuously for 28 weeks, or more, then you may be eligible for invalidity benefits, or severe disablement allowance.
If you are ill and off work for less than seven days then NO FORM OF DOCTOR’S CERTIFICATE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.
If your employer requires a certificate from the doctor for less than seven days illness, a private certificate can be issued, but there is a charge for this.