Can I go back to work before the end date on my fit note?

Yes.

As long as your employer agrees, you can go back to work or return to your normal duties before the end date on your fit note.

For example, you may want to go back to work sooner if:

  • you’ve recovered from your illness or injury more quickly than expected
  • your employer can offer you support, to help you return to work

Fit notes

Fit note is the informal name for the Statement of Fitness for Work.

With the fit note, your GP can advise that:

  • you are ‘not fit for work'
  • you ‘may be fit for work’

Your fit note will show that this is the case:

  • for a specified time, such as one week, or
  • until a specific date

For more information, see What are fit notes?

Your employer’s agreement

You will need agreement from your employer if you want to go back to work before the end date on your fit note.

If your employer thinks it’s not safe for you to return, you will have to stay off work.

Your GP’s advice

You should not go back to work before the end date on your fit note if your GP has advised that:

  • returning to work would be unsafe
  • returning to work would be bad for your health

Do I need a note saying I’m fit for work?

No.

You do not need to see your GP again to be signed back to work.

Unlike the sick note, the fit note does not have an option to say that you’re fit for work. If your GP wants to assess your fitness for work again, they will say this on your fit note.

Going back to work

You do not need to be fully fit to go back to work. For example:

  • your employer may agree to make some changes to help you return
  • if your health condition no longer affects your ability to do your normal duties, you may be able to return even though you’ve only partly recovered

Below are some examples of changes that your employer could consider:

  • returning to work gradually, for example, by starting part-time
  • working different hours temporarily
  • doing different duties or tasks
  • having other support to do your job, such as avoiding heavy lifting

Depending on your job, you may need to meet other requirements before you can return to work. For example, DVLA rules will apply if you drive:

  • a large goods vehicle (LGV), such as a lorry
  • a passenger-carrying vehicle (PCV), such as a bus

Your employer will tell you if special requirements apply to your job.

Read the answers to more questions about workplace health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 27/06/2012

Next review due: 26/06/2014