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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 55180
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I've been ill for the past 2 weeks, and I just got an email

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Hello,I've been ill for the past 2 weeks, and I just got an email this morning from my employer saying that I need to see a doctor as an HR requirement. I did some research and found out that I need to provide a fit note from a GP to my employer if I've gone over 7 days absence. I have never known about this requirement, and so I did not see a GP in the time I have been ill. I tried to see a GP today but I've never been registered with the NHS having only moved to London in the past year and a half, and they say it will take a few days before I can book an appointment.Was wondering - how serious is this, as I am not able to provide a fit note for my days of absence?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How long have you worked there for, what is the reason for your absence and does the contract say you must provide a fit note for absences?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've worked there for a year and a half. My absence has been due to illness (recurring migraines). My employment contract as far as I know doesn't say anything about fit notes.

The requirement to provide a fit note for absences over 7 days only applies for your right to get Statutory Sick Pay. So if you do not provide any fit notes for any absences longer than that, it means the employer is not obliged to pay you any SSP. It does not mean you have breached any laws.

They may have their own rules about what you have to provide them with if you are absent after a specific period of time and if you have failed to follow these then it would be a failure to abide by their own rules and procedures.If that is the case they could treat it as a misconduct matter if they wanted to and potentially discipline you.

The main issue here is that whatever you have done, even if not that serious, leaves you in a vulnerable position if they wanted to take it further, even up to dismissal.

That is because if you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. These include:

· Discrimination due to a protected characteristic (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)

· Taking, or trying to take, leave for family reasons including pregnancy, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, childbirth and parental leave

· Making a protected disclosure (i.e. whistleblowing)

· Being a part-time worker

In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within any of these categories, the dismissal could be automatically unfair and there could also be a potential discrimination claim.

However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That could happen if you were not paid your contractual notice period (unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct) or the employer had not followed a contractually binding dismissal procedure. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice.

I hope they will not dismiss but just be aware of it. For now, try to get a fit note as soon as you can just so they have no reasons to take it any further.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, that's helpful. Is there a point in getting a fit note if I'm heading back to work on Monday? If they do dismiss me, would this qualify as gross misconduct or grounds for summary dismissal, or would this be a regular dismissal with the requisite notice period?Thank you

You can always ask them if they still require a fit note o that you know where you stand and get one if needed. If they decide to dismiss this should not be gross misconduct if there was no specific policy requiring you to provide such a note, it should just be a standard dismissal with notice. Hope this clarifies?

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