Swine Flu Fears Could Change Sick Note Rules.

26th August 2009

In light of the increased sickness and absentees, the CIPD have suggested that the rules of the self certification sick note should be relaxed during the period in which swine flu is affecting the nation. Self certification rule stipulates that any member of staff who is ill for seven days or more will need to see a G.P. to ensure the payment of their sick pay. This would be fine except swine flu sufferers are told to stay at home to avoid spreading the flu and are unable to simply fetch a self certification certificate as easily as someone with another illness. Most employers will be sympathetic to this scenario but some may choose to make things difficult for their employees and penalise them in this situation.

This may result in unfair dismissals or disciplinary hearings that are a waste of time and money for anyone involved, especially if they have to replace members of staff.

Ben Wilmot of the CIPD comments, “The proposal to change the self-certification rules in the event of a serious flu pandemic is a pragmatic and temporary measure to reduce the burden on healthcare professionals and help prevent the spread of infection. Employers that manage absence and performance effectively and consistently have nothing to fear. The vast majority of absence is genuine and only a very small proportion of employees will seek to use this change in the self-certification rules to ‘pull a sickie’.

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