Obtaining a medical certificate for work

Obtaining a medical certificate for work

If you have been sick or absent from work, the chances are you’ll need to present a medical certificate for work to your superiors to prove you had worthy cause not to come to your place of employment. This can be obtained from any medical practitioner and should satisfy your boss that you didn’t just fancy a day or two out of the office because you were too lazy to go in. There are some key issues to remember when it comes to presenting a medical certificate for work, some of which are outlined below. If you are unsure at all about your entitlements at the workplace, it is best to get in touch with a colleague in your HR team to understand what is in your contract or to contact someone from the government labour department who can educate you in local labour laws.

It is a commonly held belief among some workers that they can take personal days off, if they wish and that it is their right, the same as annual leave. However, this is not the case. Employees must be able to prove that they were unable to attend work on the days they missed with a medical certificate for work. This policy may change from workplace to workplace, but most employers allow for one day to be taken off without any proof. Some larger multinationals are known to not allow any sick days to be taken on a Monday or Friday as well as the day after a bank holiday without a medical certificate for work being offered.


It is important to remember that if you are sick and need to take a day off you will be paid for it, as long as you provide the correct documentation to prove it. Employers for the most part want to trust their workforce, but they know they people take sick days as they wish, for no reason, other than being tired and or lazy. Asking for a medical certificate for work each time an employee misses work is completely within their right. Whether this affects the relationship and trust between an employer and their employee is another matter and one that may need to be considered by both sides.


A medical certificate for work must be prepared by a certified practitioner that your workplace recognises as a legitimate one, who they accept the advice of. If an employer wished to challenge the evidence of the first document produced by the employee, they would need to obtain a second document from another medical practitioner refuting the evidence given by the first one or to offer evidence as to why the first medical certificate for work was incorrect. This would be an extremely messy process and would rarely be used unless one party is bringing the other to court over unfair dismissal.


If you do need to take a day off from work for personal reasons it is always best to be upfront and honest with your employer. There is nothing worse than lying and saying you are sick, then having to ask your local doctor for a medical certificate for work and lying to them too. Proving someone is sick with a bad cold or stomach illness is nearly impossible and easy to fake so the chances are most practitioners will hand over a medical certificate for work so that you can have your day or two out of the office. Covering your tracks with your co-workers is always easier said than done, so if you are considering taking a day off work and claiming sick leave, it may be better to just bite the bullet and sleep at your desk.