What is the protocol on asking for doctors’ notes? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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What is the protocol on asking for doctors’ notes?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. When an employee calls off sick for more than one day, is there a minimum amount of days off required before an employer can ask for a doctor’s note? Can we ask the specific reason for the absence? — Joe, Pennsylvania

A. No, there is no minimum or even generally accepted minimum number of days an employer must wait before it asks an employee to provide documentation that he or she missed work because of illness.

Most employer policies do not require a doctor’s note when an employee takes a sick day because so few of us actually consult a physician when we are ill with a cold or the flu. That said, when an employer becomes suspicious that an employee may be abusing its sick leave policy, individual employees may be directed to bring a doctor’s note to excuse their absences.

If the employee calls off sick for three or more days, many employers send FMLA paperwork to the employee because one definition of “serious health condition” under that law is that the individual is unable to work for three or more days because of one’s own or a covered family member’s serious health condition. If the employee does not complete the paperwork, the leave may not be considered job-protected.

Remember, you are limited in what you can ask employees about medical conditions if you are gathering information under the FMLA. (Learn how to legally collect FMLA medical info.)

Finally, keep in mind that in an increasing number of jurisdictions, employees may be entitled to paid sick leave to care not only for themselves but for family members who fall ill. In that case, you are looking to gather evidence that the family member was sick.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara October 25, 2017 at 5:40 am

I work at a grocery store for the past year and a half and I recently messed up my wrist training and I called my manager and told her what happened and asked for 3 days off (I cashier/push carts) so it kinda affects my job I told her that I was going to try and see a doctor but there’s a possibility that I won’t be able to because my dad works night shifts driving a truck to different states and sleeps all day and my brother also has a night job (I’m 16 so I need an adult to sign off on a doctor) and my dad recently started at this job so he doesn’t have his Insurance set up yet there for it would cost us a chunk of change to actually see a doctor. So I bought a brace at the store and have been wearing it for a week now I only work two days a week 4-8 shifts and so now it’s Monday and I’m scheduled to work 10-4 pushing carts and I called in and said that I couldn’t make it that I was going to the doctors so I go to the doctors and pay 150 bucks out of my pocket just for a co-pay and it turns out I fractured my wrist and dislocated my thumb how fun and the doctor told me to take the rest of the week to rest it and ice it so I called my boss that same day and told her what happened again and all she said was I want a doctors note for today and the previous days well first I forgot to get a ******* note because I’m on pain meds and second doctors can’t write notes for anything post visit. DO I LEGALLY NEED TO PROVIDE A DOCTORS NOTE?? Thank you.


Alli September 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm

I wirk 3 hrs a day in a private school. No work no pay badus and no benefits. I haven’t back yo wirk sinve the first day because i had knee surgery. It has been a .onth now and when i went for a follow up check up my durgeon told me im on my way to recovery but not ready yo go ba k yo work yet. My work involves standing and walking in a hard surface. So i ask for another 2 wks off since my knee dtill has a lot of fluid and never gained full strength yet. The office told me to make sure i have drs note stating my surgery and when i am coming back. My question is it legal for them to ask drs note though i already yold them the reason (yhey saw me limping in pain prior yo surgery)? I feel like they don’t believe me. Again i only work part time, 15 hrs a week, no benefits. Thank you.

Pls. Dont show my email address. Thanks.


Beatrice May 18, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I got fired from my job for missing one day of work because I was sick. I am 18 and a senior in high school and work on the weekends. I went to work on Saturday even though I wasn’t feeling well. My manger asked if I was alright and I told her it was probably allergics. The next day I took off because my nose was running so much and I keep sneezing and coughing 🤧 I didn’t want to make food sick. I forgot to say I work at a fast food restaurant. So I called and told the manager I wasn’t feeling well and I wasnt going to be able to come to work. I forgot to mention my mom also told me I wasn’t going and she my ride to work.

The next week I call for my schedule and I was told I couldn’t come back until I brought a doctor note. I said I didn’t know I need a doctor note for missing one day. Plus it turned out It was allergies cause my symptoms disappeared after Monday afternoon after I started taking allergy medicine.

Well I am out of a job that I been working for the past 2 years because I missed one day for being sick.


Steve February 11, 2017 at 10:11 pm

My wife left me


Myrna February 8, 2017 at 11:46 am

was sick for one day because of cough and colds and for this my sick leave wasn’t paid because I don’t have a doctors note.


Kayla November 16, 2016 at 11:22 pm

My employer won’t pay me any sick days if I do t have a doctors note is this legal ? Even if it’s just one day ?


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