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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49821
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My employee has given me a unfit for work note from his doctor

Customer Question

My employee has given me a unfit for work note from his doctor because of Ashma and chest pains. I am convinced that he has made this up. This situation started after he asked to take the Bank holiday weekend off to attend a Military show.I rejected his request due to not having sufficient staff cover or time to arrange cover.
1 week later he's unfit for work and has been signed off for 2 weeks and has had the bank holiday weekend off! (I am sure he attended the show and may be able to get photo evidence of this)
Can I ask my employee for a fit note and to have a medical done at his cost to ensure he is fit for work?
Can I reduce his working hours until I am satisfied that he is fit for work? I want to discourage this behavior in my work place. All his colleagues are also convinced that he made this all up to get what he wanted. Is there anything else I can do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how long he has worked there?

JACUSTOMER-6z7z2har- :

7 years

Ben Jones :

Whilst there may be suspicions about the genuineness of the employee's absence, you still need to approach this carefully and not rush through any decisions.

In terms of the evidence you can ask the employee to provide this would usually consists of:

  • A self-certification sickness form for absence of seven days or less.
  • An official doctor's certificate (fit note) for longer absences.

You are actually free to decide what medical evidence you require from the employee and at what stage. However, for the purposes of paying SSP, you are not allowed to insist on a fit note for at least the first 7 days. After that you can insist on a fit note or other reasonable evidence. For example, you can require the employee to attend a more detailed medical examination or refer them to occupational health. You cannot force the employee to do this at their expense though and if you wish for them to be referred to a specialist you need to consider meeting these costs.

You also cannot reduce his working hours unless you had the specific right to do this under his contract and even then you will have to do it with a good reason behind it. Reducing someone's hours would amount to a change to their contract and could be seen as a serious breach of contract.

If there is evidence that his absence was not genuine or that he has falsified any records, notes, etc then you can treat this as a disciplinary issue and investigate it, taking formal disciplinary action if needed and if it is justified.

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you