Electronic sick notes are launched

The beginning off July saw the launch of sick notes that were electronically generated, and according the employment law advice specialists Linder Myers, this could make employer’s sickness records look a whole lot healthier.

These new electronic sick notes will contain exactly the same information as the old, hand written one, they do, however, have the benefit of being tamper proof. The vast majority of UK GP’s will have adopted this new system by the start of 2013.

They will be able to generate and print electronic sick notes, but will not be able to email them out to employers. Even so, the employment law solicitors believe the new system has many benefits.

Alan Lewis, head of employment at Linder Myers, commented: “This brings the traditional medical note into the 21st century and provides greater control and peace of mind to employers as the new notes will not only be easier to read and impossible to forge, but will also revolutionise how sickness is recorded.

“Current figures from the Office of National Statistics show that 131 million days a year are lost in the UK due to sickness and I would anticipate this figure coming down fairly significantly once the new system is in wide use.

Employees will no longer be able to tamper with sick notes or make up ailments as the new version allows employers to check the credibility of notes via a barcode if they have the correct systems in place to facilitate this. It is worthwhile for employers to start familiarising themselves with the method and putting the systems in place to take full advantage.”

Absence and sick leave records are known to be vital in resolving many common employment law disputes. From pay disputes or unfair dismissal to workplace discrimination claims, proof of poor attendance can back up the employer’s case. Accurate and tamper-proof sick notes could therefore give employers the advantage at an employment tribunal.

Further guidance can be found at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or obtained from Linder Myers.