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Can A Doctor Refuse To Give You A Sick Note? (A 3 point guide)

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This article will take a look at whether or not a doctor can refuse to give you a sick note that will allow you to take a leave from your job. Furthermore, the article will also look at how you can talk to your doctor so that he does give you a leave. How a leave affects your compensation and employment will also be discussed in this article.

Can A Doctor Refuse To Give You A Sick Note?

Yes, a doctor can refuse to give you a sick note if they deem you fit to work. It is possible they do not find any issue with you – physically or mentally – that would prevent you from working a job or shift. It is also possible that they do not consider your job as an adverse stimulus to your mental and physical health.

Although you may be confident that your doctor will cooperate and understand your needs, he or she may refuse to give you a sick note because of their judgement – they will consider you fit for the job. However, there could be other reasons that they refuse; this will be discussed below!

Why Does He Say No – A Doctor’s Refusal

There could be other reasons why your doctor may think you should still go to work!

You Are Doing Okay

It is possible you are overreacting! You could be perfectly fine but you think a small cough or flu – the covid pandemic being an exception – is something that requires an indefinite leave. There are all different types of people and some of them are more sensitive and they are more likely to react strongly to certain stimuli.

So, you may, as a patient, think that you require a sick leave but your doctor knows that your symptoms are not too serious and you will be able to work fine!

Your Financial Situation Will Affect Your Health More

The doctor knows more than you think he does! Taking a sick leave – especially an indefinite one where you are not protected by your contract – may result in you losing your compensation and possibly even your job after some time. Your doctor may realize that your current condition may not affect your health as much as your potentially worsening situation.

Hence, keeping your financial situation in mind and the effect it can have in the long term if you opt for a sick leave, your doctor may refuse to give you a sick leave!

Work Keeps You Distracted

Sometimes people need to work. Not because of the money they earn but the effect it has on their physical and especially mental health. People often go through difficult times in their life – however, having friends, a good job and a busy routine where one stays engaged helps them get through the ups and downs of life.

So, your doctor may recognize the good impact your job has on your mental health and recommend staying in it even if it sometimes tires you out. In the bigger picture, your job is what is keeping you stable.

You Did Not Convey Your Symptoms Properly

It is also possible you did not convey your symptoms properly and because of that your doctor thinks you are not sick or unwell enough. This is very common in the case of mental health issues and diseases where subjective reporting matters a lot!

Your Condition Is Temporary

Again! You might be overreacting and your doctor’s experience tells him your condition will pass soon! So hang in there and don’t waste your sick leave on something that is bound to get better soon – don’t be a scaredy cat!

A Doctor’s Credibility

A doctor does a lot to build his credibility in his professional life as well as amongst his patients! Hence, he needs to be careful because his judgement does indeed affect many lives. If your doctor feels that you are not sick enough to deserve a sick leave then, keeping in mind his reputation, he will not grant you one!

Can Insurance Companies Help?

There are a number of insurance companies that can play a role in ensuring that the employee receives compensation even when they are on an indefinite leave – either because they are sick or they are facing some other issue. Employment insurance benefits are hence available to employees who are unable to work due to some sort of injury or sickness.

However, even with these insurance companies there are some conditions that need to be met if you want to go for benefits that will allow you to grab some sort of compensation from the company you work for. For example, the condition may require that you have worked for a certain number of hours at a company before you become eligible for certain benefits that allow you to get compensation even when you are on an indefinite period of leave.

What To Say To A Doctor To Get Signed Off Work With Stress?

Sometimes people get indefinite leave due to stress that they experience and the effects it has on their body. Their doctor may deem that they are not in a position to work at the moment and hence they should take a leave for an indefinite period.

In this section, we will take a look at how someone who thinks they need some time off work can properly convey this to their doctor so they can be officially declared as someone who requires being off work indefinitely.

Talk About Your Symptoms

Regardless of how you feel or what you think, your symptoms are what really make the difference! If the stress is affecting you in a physical manner or affects your behaviour then your doctor as well as your employer are more likely to become convinced that your case is serious!

It is important that you talk about your symptoms in detail. Whether it is a headache or a minor cut that appeared on your body – talk about it. Sometimes we take things for granted but they have a relation to what we feel, think or experience.

Stress is the body’s reaction to harmful situations — whether they’re real or perceived. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury. This reaction is known as “fight-or-flight,” or the stress response.

According to WebMD, the following symptoms reflect stress:

Emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding others

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Behavioral symptoms of stress include:

  • Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
  • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing

Be Open About Your Feelings

Feelings also matter a lot! One of the most important feelings is that of happiness – it is a universal way to measure your quality of life. However, sometimes we are not happy but unhappy, sad, anxious and stressed out! This can take a toll on our body because how we feel eventually affects our physiological state!

Feelings can also point to serious mental conditions such as depression! If this is the case, your doctor will immediately give you a stress leave.

Highlight Triggers

It is important you clearly tell your doctor what stresses you out. This will enable them to determine whether or not these triggers exist in your office – they are most likely too! Hence, once they have enough information about how you feel and what experiences you have, they are in a better position to get you a stress leave.

Clearly State Why You Need Time Off

It is important that you convey what you want your doctor to do – in this case it is getting you a stress leave from your employer!

Your doctor must be told why you want a stress leave and how will it help you recover from whatever stresses you are going through!

Listen To What The Doctor Has To Say

Last but not least, listening to the doctor’s advice is quite important. They are in a better position to tell you what to do. In some cases they will immediately help you get a stress leave. In other situations they will tell you to wait a bit longer because they may need more evidence.

Book Follow Up Appointments

Show your doctor you are serious and are really in need of help by visiting them regularly! They will see the desperation and help you!


This article took a look at the topic of whether or not a doctor can refuse to give you sick leave. Also, the article highlighted ways of getting sick leave successfully. Other important issues such as the role of insurance companies and how one can get a leave due to stress were also discussed in this article.


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