'There are trust issues,' says employment lawyer after BMA's call for illness self-certification

'There are trust issues,' says employment lawyer after British Medical Association's call for self-certification

Self-certification would alleviate pressure on GPs, it is argued

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

An employment lawyer has said that "trust issues" are a major flaw in the British Medical Association's (BMA) call for self-certification.

Doctors are asking for workers to have the power to self-certify sickness for up to two weeks, in order to reduce the number of unnecessary GP appointments. 

The call was made at the BMA's annual conference, insisting people should be trusted more. The government, however, flatly denied it, saying there were no plans to change the existing policy.

"[Self-certification] would be good news for GPs and employees," Landau told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "It won't necessarily be good news for employers, especially small ones who will find it difficult to arrange cover and rely on their core staff to function.

"There's also the trust issue. Will employers really trust the validity of a two week self-certification for sickness, especially if there's no prior history of illness?"

He highlighted the consequences if people abused self-certification.

"Pulling a 'sickie' one day, two days here and there, this is often worse for employers. It puts extra pressure on work colleagues because one day you're there, the next you're not. 

"At least if there's someone who's off for a week or two with a GP note, you know where they stand.

"It is a problem, there is a trust issue here. Do employees actually accept their colleagues are sick?"