Illnesses and injuries can keep you from performing your work duties. When this happens, especially when you miss work for several days, most companies require that you get a doctor’s note. Every company has different guidelines about when you need this document and what it should contain. Below, we take a look at the doctor’s note template for work and how it works.
What Is a Doctor’s Note?
A doctor’s note is a written formal notice from a certified healthcare professional that details a medical condition that is preventing you from going to work. It may recommend that some accommodations be made for you at work or that you miss work entirely for a given period. Additionally, the note confirms that you saw a doctor and they see it fit for you to stay home, but it does not disclose the details of your condition. While called a doctor’s note, this document can also be produced by other hospital staff.
What Is a Doctor’s Note Template for Work?
A doctor’s note template for work is a pre-contrived format that can be filled in to excuse an employee from work. It contains relevant fields in which a doctor can supply information about your general wellness and inability to work without disclosing your condition. Sometimes, a company will have a doctor’s note template on file to ensure uniformity and to capture all the information needed for HR.
When Is a Doctor’s Note for Work Essential?
As mentioned, every company has its own rules about when a sick note is necessary. Some employers recommend you get this note if you miss even one day of work, others three consecutive days, others even seven. Additionally, the state in which you are employed could also have labor laws that dictate when you should get professional documentation for missing work.
If in doubt, always consult the HR department of your company to determine when you need a doctor’s note. You can then plan to get this note when you see your doctor to avoid any back and forth.
Essential Elements of a Doctor’s Note for Work
During your consultation with HR, you can also ask about what the doctor’s note should contain. Most companies require that the document at least contain a time and date of visit, a confirmation that you saw the doctor, and professional recommendations for the way forward. These elements are as follows:
- Doctor’s Information – This includes the hospital name and doctor’s name, contact information, address, specialization, and appropriate licenses. It gives the note legitimacy.
- Patient’s Details – This includes your name, age, sex, address, and contact information.
- Doctor’s Recommendations – In this section, the doctor confirms that you are unwell without going into detail. They then give recommendations for your employer, such as giving you light duties or time off work. The recommendations should be specific and include durations.
- Date – The doctor should indicate the time and date when you visited the hospital or doctor’s office. This is important for recordkeeping at your job.
- Signatures – A doctor’s note is only valid if the doctor signs it.
Sample Doctor’s Note
Medivace Medical Hospital
100 First Avenue
Atlanta, GA 20133
November 30, 2030
Re: Theresa Fowler
To Whom It May Concern,
I, Dr. Ling Hale, have performed medical tests on Ms. Theresa Fowler and recommend she be excused from work from November 30, 2030 to December 6, 2030. Ms. Fowler has a serious medical condition that calls for seven days of recovery. When she resumes work, she should perform light duties for 14 days, during which time she should not stand for more than an hour at a time or lift heavy loads. After 14 days, Ms. Fowler can resume normal duties.
Dr. Ling Hale
The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates that healthcare professionals and providers protect all sensitive health information regarding their patients. Under these guidelines, doctors who release sensitive information authorization from the patient could face fines and penalties. Consequently, healthcare providers do not generally release information about a patient’s health condition. They only confirm that a medical reason is preventing you from attending work or performing some of your job duties.
Yes, it is possible to get a doctor’s note without seeing the doctor, although very rare. Some doctors will write you a note if you have a history of illness they are aware of, but usually, a doctor will only issue this document after an evaluation.
How long you can miss work before you need a doctor’s note will depend on your company’s policy. Some employers require a note if you miss several hours of work, while others clock it at three consecutive days.
Again, this will depend on your employer. If you are unsure of how things work in your company, consult the HR department about sick notes and missing work.
Yes. Many pharmacies prepare legal sick notes for customers. To get one, you will need your ID and the medications you are currently taking for your illness.
Yes, it is possible to get fired even if you have a sick note. This is unless you live in a state protected by the ADA or FMLA. In California, for example, which is an at-will employment state, an employer can fire you if they can prove they did not do it based on your being sick.
Yes. Faking a doctor’s note can have legal repercussions, including being charged with fraud, identity theft, and forgery,
Employees who take time off work due to stress may be eligible for paid 28-week leave. However, the specifics will depend on the state laws where you are employed.
An employer could fire an employee who is off with stress on health and capability grounds. The employer must prove that the employee is no longer able to perform their tasks and all reasonable accommodations have been made to support the employee’s return to work.
Yes. Your employer, through the HR department, may check your sick note. They can ask general questions about when you expect to resume work and can call the doctor to confirm that you saw them. However, they cannot ask about your condition, symptoms, or the medication you were prescribed, especially if your condition is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
When you hand over a doctor’s note template for Work to your employer, they cannot ask about your condition, but they have the right to verify its authenticity. This is why you should always use a real doctor’s note with accurate details.