Introduction to this document

Initial letter to sick employee

Where an employee goes off sick, if they’re going to be off for longer than a few days, use our letter to remind them about your sickness absence reporting and evidence requirements

Sickness absence rules

For any period of sickness absence, you should have both reporting and evidence requirements in place, and you can cover these in employment contracts and in your Sickness Absence Policy. You can, and should, set your own reporting requirements, as otherwise the default for statutory sick pay (SSP) purposes is only that the employee must tell you they’re sick within seven days. When it comes to evidence, most employers allow staff to self-certify for the first seven consecutive calendar days and thereafter produce medical evidence from their GP in the form of a statement of fitness for work (or fit note), and this would also comply with SSP evidence requirements. Where an employee is in hospital as an inpatient, their hospital doctor can provide them with a Form Med 10 instead, covering the duration of their hospital stay. If an employee doesn't produce appropriate medical evidence of incapacity, their absence is unauthorised - see our Letter Requiring Statement of Fitness for Work.

Advice on requirements

Our Initial Letter to Sick Employee is intended for use where an employee’s sickness absence looks like it going to go beyond a couple of days, and you can use it for both at home illnesses and hospitalisations. It offers condolences to the employee on their illness or hospitalisation and goes on to set out both your reporting and evidence requirements, cross-referring to your employment contracts and policy. It then asks the employee to submit a fit note, or Form Med 10, as soon as possible once their absence exceeds seven days.

Sick pay

Our letter also outlines the employee’s sick pay entitlements, and it covers SSP, discretionary sick pay and contractual sick pay, so you can use whichever wording is appropriate. If you exercise your discretion to pay sick pay over and above SSP, you can amend our wording to cover what the employee will initially receive in this regard on a discretionary basis.