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A medical certificate is documentary proof of illness from a registered medical practitioner stating that the employee will be/was unfit for work.

A medical certificate is generally regarded as irrefutable proof the employee was legitimately absent from work because of the stated illness or injury.

This week, our experts discuss whether employers should accept backdated medical certificates from workers.

The Agreement contained a clause in an Appendix that made provision for an ‘Absent Management Plan’.

The Commissioner urged a case by case approach to considering whether any kind of medical certificate would reasonably support an absence, rather than a blanket rejection of all backdated certificates.

When you work out the number of days that you've been sick, you need to count all the days in a row you've been sick, including days you don't normally work such as weekends and bank holidays. Or if you are getting hospital treatment, ask for one from your hospital doctor.

Your doctor will assess you, and if they decide your health affects your fitness for work, they can issue a fit note and advise either that: Your doctor will choose the "may be fit for work" option if they think that you are able to do some work even if it not your usual job – with support from your employer.

This was interpreted by Commissioner Cambridge to mean a ‘retrospective medical certificate’.

The MUA disagreed with this approach arguing that ‘backdated’ should be understood in its ordinary and plain meaning such that ‘backdated medical certificates’ are to mean those certificates that are signed and dated with a date that is earlier than when the examination took place.

Discuss this advice with your employer to see if you can return to work.

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