Typically, the employee is actually home and ill. However, most company policies require the verification from the Doctor. As a Manager, I see it from several points of view. Yes, the employer is validating the employees absence is legitimate, but it also extends beyond that point. IF an employee is ill for an extended period of time, then there is the potential for liability if an employee returns to work too early. The Doctors notice will verify that the employee is in fact ready physically to return to work. If they return too early, they may be still contagious. This would cause other employees to lose time from work which becomes expensive for employers. In addition, IF the employee is actually ill enough to miss that many days, it is in their best interest to be under a doctors care. This will shorten the amount of time they are out ill. The employer also has the responsibility with the government to report those employees who are out an extended time. They are eligible for short term disability. This helps the employer who has be paying the salary for the employee AND their replacement. All in all there is so much more behind the concept than just checking up on their employees. As a Manager, it was simply something that when an employee called in on their 2nd day, I simply told them I hoped they were getting better and then I simply said, "I do want to remind you of the company policy. If you aren't better tomorrow, I will need a Return to Work note from your Doctor". Most employees are completely aware, so it is not an issue.