Advice and Guides


Things you need to know as a locum

Published on 12th June 2014

Things you need to know

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.

Self- Employed

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/

Limited Company

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

Helpful tips

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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