Introduction to this document

Fitness for work self-declaration form

Our form is for employees to declare their own fitness to return to work following a period of medically certificated sickness absence. Use it where an employee returns to work following sickness absence in circumstances where there are genuine doubts over their fitness.

No confirmation required

There’s no legal requirement for an employee who’s been absent on sick leave to be signed back to work and indeed there’s no option on the statement of fitness for work (fit note) to do so. The employee can just return to work on the expiry of their last fit note. They can even return to work before their fit note expires if they want to and they don’t need to go back to their GP first. That said, the fit note has a section which enables the GP to state whether or not they need to assess the employee’s fitness for work again at the end of the period that the fit note covers. If they state they don’t need to assess fitness again, this means the GP expects the employee to be fit for work when the fit note expires. If the employee’s last fit note has expired, they were expected to be fit for work at the end of it and it’s self-evident that they’re well enough to come back, there’s nothing further for you to worry about.

Not fit to return?

However, occasionally, you may be faced with a situation where an employee returns to work in circumstances where you don’t believe from your own observations that they’ve sufficiently recovered, or it’s before their fit note has expired or it’s where their GP didn’t expect them to be fit for work at the end of the last fit note but they’ve still come back. Do bear in mind though that people can often come back to work before they’re 100% fit and, in fact, work can even help their recovery, so don’t make generalised assumptions.


What you can do in any of these circumstances is ask the employee to complete our Fitness for Work Self-Declaration Form. It enables them to declare their own fitness to return to work. As well as confirming the dates of sickness absence and the nature of their illness, it asks the employee to let you know whether:

  • they’ve obtained a certificate from their doctor stating they’re now fit to return to work - GPs don’t routinely give these
  • there are any restrictions on the work they can undertake
  • they’ve received any advice or recommendations from their doctor on returning to work, such as a phased return, altered hours, amended duties or workplace adaptations
  • they’re currently undergoing any ongoing medical surveillance.

You can then cross-check what the employee says against any advice in their last fit note to see if there are any changes you first need to make to help them return to work. It won’t breach your employers liability insurance if an employee returns before they’re 100% fit but you may first need to undertake a suitable risk assessment. Do contact your insurer if you have any concerns. Finally, the form includes a declaration that the information is true and accurate and they confirm they’re now fit to return to work. You won’t need it for short-term absences of less than seven calendar days where the employee has already completed our Self-Certification of Sickness Absence Form.