Depending on what you do for a living, working every day can put you into contact with a large number of people at any given time. Whether they’re co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else, being exposed to contagious illnesses (of being sick with one yourself) is inevitable sometimes. When you do get sick, you may need to provide a doctor’s note to your employer to excuse any potential absences. With the cold and flu season right around the corner, there’s no better time to start preparing now. Part of that preparation should include knowing about doctor’s notes. While getting one isn’t a terribly complicated process, getting a doctor’s note and knowing when to use one can be a bit nuanced at times. Luckily, we’re here to help. Here are five tips for getting a doctor’s note.
Find Out What A Doctor’s Note Covers
If you’re wondering what a note actually covers, look no further. It’s a fairly versatile document that covers a range of different situations, such as:
- A medical appointment
- A diagnosed medical condition
- A few days off work due to illness
- Time off from school
- A slightly longer absence (7 – 10 days)
- A short hospital stay
- Sick leave
- Accommodations due to injury
- Time off due to injury
- Family Medical Leave (covered under FMLA)
- ADA accommodation
- Worker’s Compensation
- Urgent care situations
Some of these, like FMLA, allow the employer to ask for both a note to start the process and a note to return.
Get A Note Through Telemedicine
Despite the carnival of conveniences we have the luxury to experience in the modern world, taking the time to set up an appointment and travel to a physician’s office for a minor medical concern is still a bit of a hassle for some. That’s where the modern convenience of telemedicine – consulting with a doctor to discuss medical concerns, receive a diagnosis, get treatment, and eventually fill prescriptions remotely (usually through the phone or video conferencing) – comes to the rescue. When it comes down to it, seeing a doctor online is usually quicker and more convenient than going in person. But what if you have an injury, illness, or other medical issue that requires you to miss work for a few days or longer? Discuss it with the online doctor and they’ll be able to give you a note to excuse you from your job duties while allowing you time to recover.
Ensure Accurate Information
In the medical profession, accurate records are essential. You wouldn’t want your doctor treating you based on inaccurate information! For a doctor’s note to be valid and useful, it needs to be accurate. The crux of the note Should be a simple paragraph also stating that you were seen by the doctor, on a particular date and time, and whether or not you are excused from work. It may also be mentioned that you are contagious or might require some accommodations. Aside from these extremely basic instructions, there will not be any identifying diagnosis or personal details about your illness. That information is between you and the doctor. Remember that a note won’t disclose a diagnosis or violate your privacy in any way.
Never Use A Fake Doctor’s Note
When you consider how easy and inexpensive it is to get a doctor’s note, the idea that someone might forge or generate a fake one seems mind-boggling at best. Yet people try to pull a fast one and do this quite frequently. It’s always best to avoid fakes and get yourself a real doctors note for work. Sure, it might seem easy to forge a note and believe you’ll get away with it, but consider this: a doctor’s note is a legal document. If you forge one and sign your doctor’s name to it, you are committing fraud. Worse, if your employer finds out that you fabricated the note, they have grounds to terminate you from an at-will employment type of position. That’s not even mentioning how tacky, dishonest, unprofessional, and demonstrating a lack of integrity forging a note shows on your part. It’s better not to do it and to save yourself the trouble of complications arising from a fake note.
Make Sure There Are Start and End Dates
A simple, but occasionally overlooked aspect of getting a doctorate now is ensuring that the start and end dates for a potential absence are actually placed on the note. The start date should be clear and answer the question: is it that particular day that you must start sick leave? Is it the following day? And so on. Some employers require a concrete ending date for when you can return to work before you can actually do so. The organization’s specific rules might prevent them from scheduling you if your doctor’s note does not provide an absolute end date for when you can return. Double checking the information is always a good practice and will ensure the note’s accuracy and that it’ll be appropriate for how you intend to use it.