When to Ask for a Doctors Note

Is it necessary to have a doctor’s note if you cannot work? Most often, the answer is yes. If you are unable to work due to an injury or illness, you may need to give a reason from your doctor. You might be required to provide a doctor’s note to be kept on file by your company.

It depends on the company and your individual situation whether or not you require a note from your doctor. You may need to inform your employer in advance if you know you will miss work. To prove that you are ill and cannot work, you might need to submit a doctor’s note.

When You Should get a Note from your Doctor

Every company has its own rules about when employees need to submit a doctor’s note when they are sick. Each company has its own policies regarding when you must submit the note after returning to work or on the day you are absent.

While many companies don’t require a doctor’s note to excuse you from missing work for a few days, they might ask for one if your absence is for a longer time. Extended leave almost always requires professional recommendation.

Because Society for Human Resource Management notes that employees generally must provide doctor’s notes to their employers, you need to ensure you meet the requirements of your company.

To find out what your company’s policy regarding doctor’s notes is and what excuses are required to document absences from work, consult your human resources department or employee handbook.

Give Advance Notice Whenever Possible

Give as much notice as you can. Send one email with the dates and times of your appointments if you can, rather than sending multiple emails as more information becomes available. Your manager will be less anxious if you explain how you plan to handle your work coverage. This includes whether you will cover the work yourself, assign someone, or if your supervisor will take care of the arrangements.

It is unnecessary to give detailed information about your medical conditions. You don’t need to tell your employer if you are interested in seeing a therapist for mental health issues. These visits can be described as “medical” appointments.

What Your Doctor Can Tell You

If you are unsure whether your company will need a note, the doctor can write one for you while you’re at the doctor’s office. You should include details about your reasons for being absent from work, the length of your absence and any special accommodations that you might need to return to work in the note.

You may also be protected if your employer uses your absence to withhold a promotion or fire you. U.S. law provides certain protections for injured and sick workers. An injury or illness documented by a healthcare professional may allow you to retain your job if an employer attempts to fire you.

Extended Medical Leave and Doctor’s Notes

You will need to provide a doctor’s notice to your employer if you are going to be absent from work for a prolonged period (more than two or three consecutive weeks). This note will ensure you get all benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Your health information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), however, states that employers can request information about employees’ disabilities or health conditions as long as the requests are related to their job and compatible with business necessity.

Your employer must follow ADA confidentiality standards to ensure the protection of your information. Your employer is required to follow ADA confidentiality standards in order to protect your information.

What Your Employer Must Consider

Employers should seek legal advice if an employee returns from a medical absence and if they have a reasonable belief that the employee poses a threat to the safety or health of others at work.

An employer might be allowed to ask for a note from the employee’s doctor to confirm that the employee isn’t contagious and to show any changes to the workplace that are necessary to ensure the safety and health of others. If the employer cannot show certain criteria, such as job-relatedness, and the medical inquiry is consistent in business necessity, this inquiry could be considered a violation of the ADA.

Even in cases where the illness does not constitute a disability under ADA, employers are restricted by privacy and discrimination laws from making medical inquiries not related to the job.

How to Write Your Own Absence Note

While some businesses don’t require a doctor’s note to excuse you from missing work for a few days, others require that you send an email or letter of excuse. To find out if an excuse letter is required, check with your manager or human resources department. Ask your manager or human resources department if the letter must be written in a certain way and what information is required.

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