Small businesses are calling for a reform of the sick notes system as at present, they do not contain enough detail.
The Federation of Private Businesses (FPB), which represents 25,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, said that its members were complaining that sick notes were of limited use when calculating sick pay.
Listing "vague" complaints such as back pain, which was often cited, did not tell an employer whether or not a worker was able to perform their job, or, for example, whether a member of clerical staff was able to sit at a desk, the organsation said.
While the FPB claimed that it was not calling for sick workers to work when they were not capable, one member of staff constituted a large percentage of the workforce for smaller firms and some balance was needed, it said.
FPB campaigns manager Victoria Carson explained: "Owner-managers always have to get on with it, knowing that the business does not earn profit if they do not work.
"So if they have a problem, they have to work out exactly what the problem stops them from doing, and what they can still do.
"It would be useful if employees, and the doctors who sign their cover notes, would take the same responsibility."