Search

How can we help?

Icon

Beware of the fake fit note!

Just 2 months after they were introduced by the Government in an attempt to combat sickness absence, it appears that the fit new note is open to misuse.

Despite being marketed as being for novelty use only, it has been identified that a website is selling fake versions of the new fit notes.  For less than £10, the website is offering employees authentic looking replica doctors sick notes or medical certificates.  It also promises that the notes will be written on official doctors` notepaper, with real stamp.  Somewhat amazingly, individuals are even being enticed with offers such as “buy one get on free” on blank fit notes!

With commentary suggesting that it may be difficult for employers to tell the difference between a fake and a genuine fit note, it will be important for employers to check notes received carefully.  As certain websites offer individuals the chance to have their notes stamped by doctors from medical centres in any UK city, it is open to employers (if suspicious) to contact the practice which issued the note in order to check its authenticity.

It is also useful for employers to revisit their sickness absence policies to check whether these give them the right to refer an employee to an independent doctor or occupational health advisor.  Disciplinary action can be taken against employees who are found to have misused or submitted fake notes.

It is of course questionable as to the extent to which we will see the fake notes being used by employees in practice, particularly as a recent report (undertaken by the CBI and the drug company Pfizer) has revealed that employees took an average of 6.4 days off sick in 2009, the lowest figure recorded since the CBI poll began in 1987.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

It is also useful for employers to revisit their sickness absence policies to check whether these give them the right to refer an employee to an independent doctor or occupational health advisor.

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Time to take the heat off menopausal women

On 22 February 2024, the EHRC released guidance and resources for employers designed to help employers understand their legal obligations in relation to supporting workers experiencing menopausal symptoms.

Pub
  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Talking Employment Law: What to do if you’re at risk of redundancy

In this podcast, Harry Berryman and Rebecca Dowle, members of the employment team, will talk through the steps that need to be taken for a redundancy to be fair and the range of criteria that can be used when determining which employees will be made redundant.

art
  • 12 February 2024
  • Employment

The World of Work in 2024- What Can HR Expect?

In many senses, 2024 is unlikely to be a year with radical ruptures from those that have gone before it. The significance of 2024 though, is that it is likely to build upon those megatrends impacting the world of work, which have been emerging for some time now and are only likely to strengthen as we move on in time.

art
  • 30 January 2024
  • Employment

Large-scale Redundancies – What to expect as an employee

In today’s uncertain economic environment, it is rare to see a week go by without a major employer announcing redundancies, be they as a result of a restructuring, a contracting business or a merger or acquisition.

art
  • 23 January 2024
  • Employment

Navigating Redundancy: Top Tips for Employers Considering Redundancies

Redundancy law in the UK can be tricky to get right. With that in mind, here are our top tips for employers who are considering making redundancies.

art
  • 17 January 2024
  • Employment

The Post Office Scandal Calls for HR Caution

This article will focus on what went wrong in the Post Office Scandal and what  human resource professionals (HR) might learn from  the Post Office’s failings.