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A quick guide; becoming a locum

by Michael Bailey | 24 August 2016

I talk to new candidates everyday who are thinking of becoming a locum. Most commonly, candidates are curious as to the advantages and disadvantages, as well as how easy the transition is to make. In short, it is a surprisingly quick and easy process to both set up, and start working. The most difficult thing new candidates struggle with is the unknown. However, once a locum, they never look back. So what options should you be thinking about when considering your decision? 

Locums are typically paid at a higher rate than a permanent member of staff. This is usually due to their availability at short notice and ability to hit the ground running whilst working unsupervised.
There are many different payment methods that locums can expect to be working with. However, the two most popular are setting up a limited company or working self-employed. A limited company is the most tax efficient way to be paid. If claiming expenses you could take home up to 90 per cent of what you are paid. 

This all sounds very complicated but it is really quite simple. There are accountancy firms out there that we can put you in touch with that will do everything for you, you submit your timesheet and expenses each week and they do the rest.
Estimated Example Pays
PAYE: £40,000 per annum – after tax and national insurance, £583.98 per week
Limited: £40,000 per annum – after expenses claimed and deductions, up to £688.75 per week (£5,200 more a year!)
Limited; £25 per hour – after expenses claimed tax and deductions, up to £818.74 per week, £4,091.25 per month
Limited; £30 per hour – after expenses claimed, tax and deductions, up to £963.59 per week, £4,175.57 per month
As a locum, you have the opportunity to choose which assignments you work om; you might not like a certain style of company or you may only want short or longer term contracts.  Working as a locum, you have the opportunity to pick and choose when or where you work.

As you are not an employee and always have an end date, locums tend not to get caught up in firm politics or targets. You simply, go in, work, go home on time, and get paid.
Are there any disadvantages?
The biggest disadvantage for most people is taking the leap and not knowing if there will be enough work available. I tell every new candidate the same thing; the amount of work you will receive completely depends upon how flexible you are with regards to travel. For example, if you are willing to travel 10 miles, you might have 20 weeks’ worth of work a year but travelling 20 miles could increase this to 30 weeks.

From time to time, some locums also stay in a B&B throughout the week. Being able to work anywhere increases the amount of work you have in the year.
Being a locum is not right for everyone. For many, taking the leap is a little daunting but we have helped many people in the same position who will never look back.  
If you have any questions or want to take the next steps get in touch with one of the team. Alternatively, browse through our latest locum roles.