Things you need to know as a locum
Published on 12th June 2014
When you become a locum social worker you need to make arrangements for getting paid as it is different than when you are working full-time for an organisation.
Most locum social workers tend to set up as self-employed or as a limited company.
If you are self-employed, your agency or employer will pay you on a contractual basis and you need to make your own arrangements to pay tax and you do this by filling in an annual tax return. There is more information available here http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/file-online.htm. You can fill in your tax return yourself or arrange for a book keeper or accountant to help you while you learn how to do it. If you do hire an accountant, they can advise you on the most advantageous tax methods to suit you. You should keep your receipts from any business expenses too as these can be deducted in your tax return.
You also need to pay National Insurance Contributions.
HMRC has more information about Starting a Business here http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/startingup/ .
You can also set up your own company and you will be the director and shareholder of the company. With a limited company, the money belongs to the company, not you and so you would need to be an employee and take a salary. You can also take the profits or dividends out.
If you set up as a company you will have to comply with all company law requirements to file accounts and returns to Companies House and you are responsible for the calculation and payment of VAT and corporation tax liabilities, payroll calculations, company administration and ensuring the necessary insurances are in place to trade.
To read about how to set up a Limited Company, click on the following links:
This government website link provides more information on setting up a limited company https://www.gov.uk/business-legal-structures/limited-company
Here is a factsheet on the HMRC website about setting up a limited company http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/factsheet/limited-company.pdf
- Decide whether you will be a sole trader or limited company.
- Register with HMRC for tax requirements http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/register.htm
- You may want to look into getting an accountant or book keeper.
- If you are not going to be covered for sick and holiday pay you need to budget accordingly.
- If you are not covered for a pension you may want to look into a private pension.
- You may want to think about insurance and union representation. BASW http://www.basw.co.uk/membership/ and The College of Social Work http://www.tcsw.org.uk/membership/ have further information about what they offer in their membership packages or you may want to contact Unison http://www.joinunison.org/?gclid=CLbdoP33_7sCFanjwgodx1YAsg .
Further information: BASW has two books available for social workers wanting to become locum social workers or Independent Social Workers http://shop.basw.co.uk/collections/independent-social-work .
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