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Emergency legislation has been passed by the UK Government which temporarily extends the period for which individuals can self-certify their absence during a period of incapacity for work, for Statutory Sick Pay purposes, from 7 days to 28 days (including non-working days).

This delays the requirement for the individual to provide a medical certificate from their GP until after 28 days.

The Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 apply in England, Wales and Scotland only, and have been made in order to reduce the pressure on GPs created by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The new rules apply to periods of incapacity which commenced between 17 December 2021 and 26 January 2022, or which started before 17 December but have not yet lasted more than seven days (as the requirement to provide medical evidence has not yet arisen). Therefore, the regulations do not apply to periods of incapacity which commence after 26 January.

Given the temporary nature of the regulations, it is not recommended that employers amend written rules on absence reporting, but rather that employers communicate the temporary change in requirements to staff via a memo or similar means.

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