Doctors’ Notes For Work In Texas: Laws, Requirements, And Advice

Getting a doctor’s note to justify an absence from work is a common occurrence for many employees in Texas. However, the rules and laws surrounding doctors’ notes in the workplace can be confusing.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: In Texas, employers can legally require doctors’ notes from employees to verify sick leave or medical absences. Notes should be signed by licensed physicians to be valid. Employees can be terminated for providing fraudulent notes.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, we will breakdown everything you need to know about doctors’ notes for work absences in Texas. With over 5 sections, we’ll cover the legal landscape, mandatory requirements, what details notes must include, types of permissible excuses, and top tips for employees. By the end, Texas workers will understand their rights and responsibilities when needing a physician’s note for their employer.

Texas Workplace Laws on Doctors’ Notes

In Texas, understanding the laws and requirements surrounding doctors’ notes for work is essential for both employees and employers. It is important to be aware of the specific regulations that apply to your workplace in order to ensure compliance and protect your rights.

This article will provide an overview of the key aspects of Texas workplace laws regarding doctors’ notes.

At-Will Employment

One important factor to consider in Texas is the concept of at-will employment. Texas is an at-will employment state, which means that employers can terminate employees for any reason that is not considered illegal or discriminatory.

This means that an employer is not legally required to accept a doctor’s note as a reason for absence or provide job protection based on the note alone. However, many employers have their own policies regarding doctors’ notes and may require them for certain absences or as part of their sick leave policy.

Sick Leave Laws

While Texas does not have a statewide mandatory sick leave law, some cities within the state have implemented their own sick leave ordinances. For example, Austin and San Antonio have passed laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

These laws typically outline the amount of sick leave that employees are entitled to accrue and the conditions under which they can use it. It is important for employees to familiarize themselves with the specific sick leave laws in their city or municipality.

Disability and FMLA Leave

Employees in Texas may be eligible for disability leave or leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Disability leave provides job-protected leave for employees who are unable to work due to a disability.

FMLA leave, on the other hand, allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical and family reasons. In order to qualify for FMLA leave, employees must meet certain criteria, such as working for a covered employer and having worked a certain number of hours in the previous year.

It is important for employees to understand their rights and obligations under these leave laws and to communicate with their employers regarding their need for leave and any necessary documentation, such as a doctor’s note.

For more detailed information on Texas workplace laws and specific requirements regarding doctors’ notes, it is recommended to consult official government websites such as the Texas Workforce Commission or seek legal advice from a qualified employment attorney.

When Employers Require Doctors’ Notes

Employers often require employees to provide doctors’ notes for various reasons, such as verifying the legitimacy of an employee’s absence from work due to illness or injury. These notes serve as documentation and help maintain transparency between the employer and the employee.

They also help employers ensure that their employees are genuinely unable to work and not taking advantage of sick leave policies.

Policies for Missed Workdays

Most employers have specific policies in place regarding missed workdays and the requirement for doctors’ notes. These policies may vary from one company to another, so it is crucial for employees to familiarize themselves with their employer’s specific guidelines.

Some employers may require a doctor’s note for any absence, while others may only require it for absences lasting more than a certain number of days.

Duration of Absences Needing Notes

The duration of absences that require a doctor’s note can also vary. Some employers may require a note for any absence, regardless of its duration. Others may only require a note for absences lasting more than a specific number of days, such as three or five consecutive workdays.

It is important for employees to understand these requirements and comply with them to avoid any potential issues with their employers.

Notes for Frequent Absences

In cases where an employee has frequent absences due to a chronic illness or other medical condition, employers may require ongoing documentation from a healthcare provider. This documentation helps employers monitor the employee’s health condition and determine if any accommodations or adjustments need to be made to the employee’s workload or schedule.

Regular doctors’ notes can provide employers with valuable information while ensuring the employee’s privacy and confidentiality.

It’s important to note that employers must handle employees’ medical information with utmost care and in compliance with privacy laws. Employees should only provide the necessary information required by their employer and ensure that any personal health information remains confidential.

For more information on Texas laws regarding doctors’ notes for work, you can visit the official website of the Texas Workforce Commission.

What Doctors’ Notes Must Include

Licensure and Signature

When obtaining a doctor’s note for work in Texas, it is crucial that the note includes the physician’s licensure information and signature. This ensures that the note is legitimate and can be trusted by your employer.

The licensure information typically includes the doctor’s full name, medical license number, and the state in which they are licensed. The signature serves as confirmation that the note was indeed issued by a licensed medical professional.

Dates of Treatment

A doctor’s note must also clearly state the dates of treatment or examination. This is important because it provides evidence that you sought medical attention during the specific time period mentioned in the note.

The dates of treatment should align with the period of absence from work, allowing your employer to verify that you were indeed under medical care and not simply taking time off without a valid reason.

Return to Work Date

One of the most important pieces of information that must be included in a doctor’s note is the anticipated return to work date. This date informs your employer about when you are expected to be fit to resume your duties.

It is crucial to communicate this information accurately, as it allows your employer to plan for your absence and make any necessary arrangements in your absence.

It is worth noting that the specific requirements for doctor’s notes may vary among employers and industries. Some employers may have additional requirements, such as a specific format or additional information to be included.

Therefore, it is always advisable to check with your employer or human resources department regarding their specific guidelines for doctor’s notes.

Acceptable Excuses for Notes

Illness, Injury, and Disability

When it comes to providing a doctor’s note for work in Texas, one of the most common reasons is illness, injury, or disability. If an employee is unable to perform their job duties due to a physical or mental health condition, they may need to provide a note from their healthcare provider.

This note should specify the nature of the condition, the expected duration of the employee’s absence or limitations, and any necessary accommodations or restrictions.

Illnesses can range from common ailments such as the flu or a cold to more serious conditions that require extended medical treatment. Injuries can result from accidents both inside and outside of the workplace, and may require time off for recovery.

Disabilities, whether temporary or permanent, can also be a valid reason for needing a doctor’s note.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth are considered valid reasons for requesting time off from work, and therefore a doctor’s note may be required. This note should confirm the employee’s pregnancy and provide information about any necessary accommodations or restrictions during the pregnancy, as well as the expected due date.

It’s important for employers to be aware of the legal protections provided to pregnant employees. According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers cannot discriminate against employees based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Providing a doctor’s note can help ensure that the employee’s rights are protected and that they receive any necessary accommodations.

Medical Procedures and Surgery

Medical procedures and surgeries are another acceptable reason for providing a doctor’s note. Whether it’s a minor outpatient procedure or a major surgery requiring an extended recovery period, employees may need time off to undergo medical treatment.

The doctor’s note should include details about the procedure or surgery, the expected recovery time, and any necessary accommodations or restrictions during the recovery period. This information can help employers understand the employee’s needs and make appropriate arrangements to ensure their well-being.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements for acceptable excuses may vary depending on the employer’s policies and any applicable state or federal laws. Employers should familiarize themselves with the relevant laws and regulations to ensure they are handling doctor’s notes appropriately.

Tips for Employees Needing Notes

Understand Company Policies

When it comes to getting a doctor’s note for work in Texas, it’s important for employees to first understand their company’s policies. Different organizations may have different requirements and procedures when it comes to requesting and submitting doctor’s notes.

Some companies may require employees to provide a note for every absence, while others may only require a note for extended absences or specific situations. By familiarizing themselves with their company’s policies, employees can ensure they are following the correct procedures and avoid any potential issues.

Follow Up on Promised Notes

It’s not uncommon for doctors’ offices to promise to provide a note for work, only for it to be forgotten or overlooked. This can be frustrating for employees who are relying on the note to excuse their absence.

To avoid this situation, it’s important for employees to follow up with their doctor’s office to ensure that the promised note is actually provided. By making a quick phone call or sending a polite email, employees can ensure that their doctor’s note is in their possession before they need to submit it to their employer.

Keep Notes Confidential

When it comes to submitting a doctor’s note to an employer, it’s essential for employees to keep the information confidential. The note should be treated as a private medical document and should not be shared with coworkers or discussed openly in the workplace.

Sharing medical information without permission is a violation of privacy laws and can lead to serious consequences. Employees should also be mindful of how they store and dispose of their notes to protect their personal information.

For more information on doctor’s notes for work in Texas, employees can visit the Texas Workforce Commission website, which provides resources and guidelines for employees and employers alike.


In conclusion, Texas employers can legally require doctors’ notes from workers to verify medical absences. Employees should understand company policies, ensure notes contain the doctor’s signature and necessary details, and provide acceptable medical excuses to avoid disciplinary action. By following the advice in this guide, Texas employees can smoothly navigate acquiring doctors’ notes when they need to take leave from work for health reasons.

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