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Why Do I Need a Fit-to-Work Certificate?

July 31, 2023
Why Do I Need a Fit-to-Work Certificate?
July 31, 2023

If you are returning to work after an illness or health condition, there is a chance that your employer may require a fit-to-work certificate. While it can seem like just another bureaucratic inconvenience to work through, fit-to-work certificates are there to support you as well as to protect your employer. So, what do you need to know about them?

What is a fit-to-work certificate?


A fit note is issued by certain healthcare professionals. It provides evidence that employees are fit to return to or start a new job.


A fit-to-work certificate is a medical document produced by a general practitioner (GP) to inform businesses of whether it is safe for an employee to return to work after a period of absence and some employers now request a certificate before starting a new job.

Why do I need a fit-to-work certificate?

All employers have a duty of care. It covers a wide range of legal and ethical obligations to prevent physical and psychological harm to staff. And part of that responsibility is to ensure that team members do not rush back to work too soon after a period of ill health. People do this for a variety of reasons – some financial, some through boredom or loneliness or a simple inability to rest, others because their employers are exerting unethical pressure. Fit-to-work certificates are there to prevent that. Ensuring that only those employees who are fully recovered and able to carry out their work properly, without detriment to their own wellbeing, do so. This can help to protect businesses against future legal repercussions and insurance liabilities. While ensuring that employees are not risking further ill health.

How can a fit-to-work certificate help me?

There are a number of ways in which a fit-to-work certificate can benefit you.

  •       If you wish to return to work before your sickness certificate expires, a fit-to-work certificate can reassure your employer that they are not failing in their duty of care by letting you return too soon.
  •       Returning to work after a period of health-related absence can be both stressful and exhausting. And that’s where a graduated return can be really useful. A fit-to-work certificate can help to lay out the terms of your return, specifying whether you have had a full or partial recovery, and whether a graduated return might be beneficial.
  •       A fit to work certificate can also be used to implement a change of duties. If you work in a very physical environment but you have been suffering from mobility or pain-related issues, for example, a fit-to-work certificate might be used to suggest either light duties, or a move to an administrative role.

How can I get a fit-to-work certificate?


If you’re off work sick for more than 7 days, your employer will usually ask for a fit note.


You can ask your GP for a fit-to-work certificate. However, this can be a lengthy process, with the wait for non-urgent appointments currently averaging at around 10 days. If you don’t want to wait, you can access a digital fit-to-work certificate. With ZoomDoc, you can upload a video of your medical evidence. This will be assessed by a qualified practitioner. If they believe that you are fit to work, they will issue you a certificate on the same day.

Are there any roles that a digital fit-to-work certificate can’t be issued for?

There are some roles where a physical examination is a mandatory requirement for a fit-to-work certificate to be issued. These are roles that hold the potential to cause harm to other people if the employee becomes unwell while working. So, if you work in any kind of driving role – bus, HGV, taxi – operate heavy equipment, such as cranes or excavators, or work at heights, then you will need to see your GP to gain a fit-to-work certificate.

Fit-to-work certificates are there to help you and your employer. Helping to ensure that your return to work is as safe and successful as it possibly can be.

Find out more about fit-to-work certificates with ZoomDoc.

Want to know more?

Our team of Doctors are available via the ZoomDoc App for any medical questions or queries.