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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I am British & have worked 6 years for my employer, a large

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I am British & have worked 6 years for my employer, a large organization in the UK, but my main home is in the EU. Under exceptional stress at work, my own GP signed me off work for several weeks. The empoyer said the letter would be acceptable, and that I didn't need to come back to see a GP in the UK to get a Fit Note, but when I sent it they said it must include the reason for absence/illness. This is not the case in the EU, it is confidential.
I am worried that if I put "work-related stress" it will be used against me to show I am not capable of dealing with my workload and start a dismissal procedure against me. I have also seen other people branded as "crazy" in a similar situation! Please advise me what I have to do to make sure I comply with the law, but do not jeopardise my future employment? Also, how often should update the employer on my progress for the same reasons? Thank you
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know if you are likely to be absent from work for a prolonged period of time?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Ben. I have been signed off for three weeks, but my GP does expect to extend that. The stress comes from an unreasonable workload and harrassment from another employee over months (although I really don't want to proceed with a claim for that, but my line managers are aware of it.) It is a university - in case this makes any difference - because I was told to some extent they have their own "internal charter"!

Whilst the university may have its own policies and rules, just like any employer, they are still an employer and will be subject to the general employment laws and principles.

An employer should require evidence from the employee of their incapacity to work. In practice, this usually consists of a fit note or a doctor's report/certificate.

Employers are actually free to decide what medical evidence they require from employees and at what stage. However, for the purposes of paying statutory sick pay, they are not allowed to insist on a doctor's certificate for at least the first seven days. After that time, they may insist on a statutory fit note or other reasonable evidence In cases of longer term absence employers can require employees to have a doctor's report or submit to more detailed medical examinations or discussions with occupational health specialists.

Therefore, if the employer requires details of why you are off sick you would be required to provide these. The employer cannot just go ahead and dismiss you because of this because you will be protected against unfair dismissal. To fairly dismiss they need to show that you are no longer capable of performing your job and that you are unlikely to be able to return to it. If you are just off for a relatively short time (weeks or a few months this should not result in dismissal.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating as that is a very important part of our process. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

For Ben Jones only

Thank you. can you be more specific on the wording though, so that it does not cause me any problems in the future? i.e. If I put "work-related anxiety/stress" will this require them to (a) follow this up on my return and (b)make judgements about my mental state?

Also, am I opening mysef to problems by having a letter from an EU doctor rather than a standard Uk Fit Note form?

you do not have to state that it is work-related. Stress is stress, whatever the reasons for it

If you do not live in the UK you cannot be expected to provide a fit note from a UK doctor and therefore a doctor's letter would suffice
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

One last clarification - are you saying that after the 7 days they could require a Fit form? This would require me returning to the UK...

they could do but it would be unreasonable to do so in the circumstances and they could (or should) just ask for a doctor's certificate

As your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer - it only takes a second to do. I can then continue providing further advice and answer follow up questions if needed. Thank you.
Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you very much for your quick and helpful replies. Sorry I didn't realise I needed to rate you until finished!

No problem at all and thank you - all the best