Sick Notes and Certificates

Do you need a doctor's certificate in the first seven days of an illness?

No, illnesses that last less than one week are usually minor and self-limiting and you may not require a visit to a doctor.  It can be difficult for your doctor to judge whether or not you are incapable of reporting for work in this situation and all the certificate really indicates is that you attended the surgery on a specific date complaining that you had a minor illness.

In general, the Department of Health and Social Security, employers, doctors and patients do not recommend that you attend your doctor for sickness certification alone.  Your GP is only required to issue a certificate if your absence from work through sickness which lasts more than seven days.

What do you need?

For the first three days of any illness you do not require any form of certification. 

For the next four days (including Saturdays and Sundays or days you don’t usually work), you must fill in form SC2 – a self-certification form, which is available from your employer or you can follow this link to download a SC2 Form

For more than seven days you will need a doctor’s certificate and will have to attend the doctor to get a Department of Social Security sick note, either a ‘Med 3’ or ‘Med 5’.  You will need to make an appointment to see your GP for this.  Please see our Contact Us page to get the correct number.

If you are in hospital during the first 7 days of your illness, you can ask the doctor in charge of your hospital care to issue a ‘Med 10’ Department of Social Security sick note.