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Coronavirus: Introducing Isolation Notes

Heidi Thompson | 23 March 2020

Updated 02.04.20:  We have produced the following guidance for coronavirus related absent employees being unable to retrieve a Fit Note from their GP and the introduction of the new Isolation Note available online.

You may have employees who are absent from work because they have become ill with coronavirus themselves or have to self-isolate because they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus and cannot work from home.

In normal circumstances, an employee who is absent from work due to an illness would be able to go to the GP after seven days of illness and get a Fit Note (medical certificate) which is then passed onto the employer. This Fit Note explains the reason for absence and the possible date that the employee might be able to return to work.

If an employee is showing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus or they live with someone who has symptoms and are therefore in self-isolation, they are being asked not to visit their GP surgery and so are unable to retrieve a Fit Note. These individuals are now able to go online to get an Isolation Note which acts in the same way as a Fit Note.

Who is an Isolation Note for?

Isolation Notes are for employees who are:

  • in self-isolation due to having coronavirus symptoms themselves; or
  • not able to work from home but are self-isolating because they live with someone who has symptoms.

For the first seven days of absence, employees can self-certify as usual.

After seven days, employers may ask their employee for evidence of continuing sickness absence. In the case of coronavirus, the employee can obtain an Isolation Note provided they meet the criteria above.

Getting an Isolation Note

An Isolation Note can be obtained through:

Once logged on, the user will be asked a series of online questions to make a request. The Isolation Note will be emailed to the employee, but if the employee does not have an email address they can have the note sent to a trusted family member, friend or directly to their employer. This service can also be used to generate an Isolation Note on behalf of someone else.

What does the employee get paid?

When one of your employees is absent due to illness or self-isolation because they are living with someone with the virus, your normal sickness absence policy applies. The Government has announced that Statutory Sick Pay payments for those affected by COVID-19 can start from day one.

There is financial support available to help employers with less than 250 employees cope with the cost of Statutory Sick Pay payments. Details can be found on our dedicated COVID-19 news page.


If you’d like information on how Duncan & Toplis can support you and your business, please contact our team.


The situation and advice may change regularly and therefore we would strongly advise you to keep up-to-date daily and follow the advice from organisations such as:



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