What Are Medical Leave Certificates?

Medical leave certificates are documents that doctors issue upon the request of a patient. This is used to provide evidence that the employee’s absence is indeed due to illness. The contents of this certificate include the patient’s name, the reason behind his or her absence, and the consulting doctor’s name.

How to Write a Medical Leave Certificate

According to the US Dept. of Labor, employees can have up to 12 weeks of medical leave as mandated on the FMLA. To prove that the leave of absence is indeed medical-related, a certificate must be presented by the employee. If you need to issue one, we have instructions below to help you out.

1. Conduct an Assessment on the Patient

Before you can write anything on the medical leave certificate, you should assess the patient to understand their condition. Ask them about the symptoms they observed, their family history, maintenance medications, and more. Gather as many details as possible and write them down on your doctor’s notes.

2. Identify the Purpose of the Certificate

Writing a certificate is always better if you know how the patient is going to use it. This way, you can tailor the content specifically and appropriately. Most sick leave certificates are used to allow the employee to still be compensated despite their absence. However, there are also others who use the certificate for insurance purposes.

3. Explain Thoroughly the Patient’s Condition

After assessing the patient and coming up with a diagnosis, explain it in narrative form on the certificate. Since not everyone is familiar with medical terms, describe the condition using simple words. For example, write fever instead of referring to it as hyperthermia.

4. Specify the Date That the Patient Can Return to Work

To give the manager a heads up on the duration of the leave, specify the date that the employee can return to work. This “fit to work” note is typically written at the bottom part of the certificate. For conditions that require surgery, allow the patient at least a few weeks to recover.

5. Write Your Name and Affix Your Signature

To make the document official, write your complete name on the bottommost section. Aside from your name, also include a suffix to signify your profession and your license number. And of course, don’t forget to sign over your printed name.

General FAQs

  • What is the definition of medical leave?

  • What is FMLA?

  • How long can an employee go on leave?

  • Who are eligible for medical leave?

  • Should the employee be paid in full despite the medical leave?