If you’re a student, a parent, or anyone else who needs to take time off from work, the chances are that you’ll have to turn in a doctor’s note in your life. It’s tough to figure out what’s needed and how you should do everything if you are new at it.
This article is here to help give you a little guidance and direction in understanding and filling out your doctor’s note.
What is a Doctor’s Note?
A doctor’s note also called a doctor’s excuse for work or physician’s statement, is essentially a document that explains why you’re unable to perform everyday tasks for an extended period. The most effective method of proving that you’re unable to perform your job duties is by providing the specific answer on the document itself.
A good way to do this is by listing specific reasons you can’t perform your job duties while also explaining how long it will be before you can return from leave. You should also include a statement about the timing of your return date to your job.
Completing a Doctor’s Note
The doctor’s note must make it clear why the individual cannot work. For example, if the individual has the flu, the note should state they have the flu.
It’s also important that these notes are easy to read by someone unfamiliar with medical matters. It’s best to ask your doctor to write your notes with an audience in mind. To keep in mind, employers typically request doctor’s notes, not individuals. With this in mind, please consult with your doctor to ensure that the doctor’s note they provide for you is a fair and accurate assessment of your situation.
You’ll need to remember to date the doctor’s note as well. It is important because doctors may ask for documentation from anyone within the last year. If the doctor’s note isn’t dated, there’s a possibility that an employer or other organization will look at it as invalid. You should also sign and date your position and sign and date your name. Sometimes, employers may request a notarization as well.
Things to Keep in Mind When Filling Out Your Doctor’s Note
Just like when filling out any form, there are certain things to keep in mind when filling out a doctor’s note that make it clear why the individual cannot work. They include:
Are you Suffering from A Chronic Illness?
If the individual cannot work because of a chronic condition, the note must state their condition, so they don’t have to explain why they’re unable to work every time they request additional time off.
The doctor’s note should also state whether the individual has sought medical treatment for their illness, what form this treatment takes, and how long it will last.
Take Responsibility for your Work
The doctor’s note should also highlight what the individual has done to make the work environment safe. Even if you’re unable to work, understand that you’re still responsible for your workplace.
It means that you should ask your employer if there are any tasks you can complete or delegate to another employee while you’re unable to work. It’s also important to make sure there are backup plans in place in case of an emergency when employees must leave their jobs.
Communicate with your Employer
It’s also important that you communicate with your employer and let them know the best way to accommodate your absence. For example, let them know if they need to arrange for overtime if they need to let others know that you’ll be temporarily unavailable, or even if they need to adjust their workflow so that work doesn’t pile up.
The goal is to allow your employer as much flexibility as possible while maintaining a safe and efficient workplace. You can also let your employer know if there are any particular times of the day when you’ll be unavailable.
The last thing an employer wants is an employee to go on medical leave for a long time only to return completely unaware that there had been some changes to the workplace.
Know What You Should Do During Your Absence from Work
If your position requires you to work from home, it’s important to know all the details about how your absence from work will specifically affect everything else you do.
You should also know what tasks and responsibilities will fall on the shoulders of other employees while you’re away. If you’re not sure what you’ll need to do while you’re away from work, it’s best to contact your company or organization and find out.
Or, if things are spelled out in your employee handbook, you can always refer to that. It’s also important that when you return from leave, you don’t over-commit yourself by trying to take on more than is humanly possible.
A doctor’s note is documentation released by a physician to explain why an individual cannot work. For it to be effective, you must be clear about why you’re away from work, whether you intend to return after your leave, and what tasks the company needs you to complete before you’re gone.
If you think your employer is violating your FMLA rights or an ADA right, you can contact a labor attorney to seek legal advice, discuss your options, and help you determine the best course of action.