Top Tips for Working As a Locum Vet or Vet Nurse in the UK
Travel to the UK to Work
It’s no secret that Britain relies heavily on travelling international vets from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America to supply veterinary talent to cover the shortages here. The UK just doesn’t produce enough homegrown vets. Add Brexit to this and the heavy reliance on European vets working in the UK, the next few months and years are going to prove extremely interesting on the availability of talent here in the UK. It is likely that if European vets need a visa to work in the UK, we will see more travelling and locum vets from other global countries (also needing a visa).
The keynote here is that if you don’t have a UK passport, vets will need a visa in place before arriving in the UK to work. There are a number of working visas that may be applicable and possible new rulings for Europeans. Ancestral visas and holiday working visas have traditionally been the most used avenues for vets to travel and work in the UK for 2-4 years. These visas give access to work in the UK and make use of excellent travel opportunities available here.
Locums – Are You Truly Self-Employed?
Working as a locum vet or veterinary nurse is great because being self-employed means there are many tax-deductible expenses and savings to be made. Especially if you are a limited company and claim a portion of your income as dividends! So what is the catch? Well, you have to be truly self-employed in accordance with IR35 Tax criteria. It covers issues such as “right of substitution”, “self-control of destiny” and “no mutual obligation”. Locums have to comply with and adhere to these criteria in order to be considered self-employed. If you breach these rules and are found to be “employed”, the employing practice will be fined and will have to back pay PAYE and Nation Insurance, so practices are very strict to ensure their locums are truly a self-employed entity.
Just having a self-employed UTR tax number does not indemnify the practice against having to stop PAYE and National Insurance at the source. Hence practices are increasingly putting the onus on locums to ensure the correct self-employed service contracts are in place.
An additional consideration is the duration you expect to work as a locum for. If you are going to do a single locum placement or two between permanent jobs, then setting up a self-employed status or limited company is not likely to be financially beneficial. If however, you intend to locum on an ongoing basis, then being self-employed as a limited company, umbrella company or sole trader is more financially beneficial. It is worth pointing out that the majority of large corporate practices only engage locums that are “contractors” under limited companies or umbrella companies. Visit our Employment Types for Locums page to find out more information.
This is a vast and detailed subject and these top tips are only to raise awareness. Please contact us at Carlton Professional Recruitment if you require further information and we will be happy to get you the specialist advice you may need.
Who’s Liable? Ensure Your Indemnity Insurance Is In Place
With the public becoming more and more litigious, indemnity insurance for locums is becoming crucial and is a rapidly changing market for insurance companies. Speaking to the country’s main indemnity supplier, an anomaly exists in the market and the problem is as follows. When a locum arrives for work and is covered under the practice insurance, this is generally done by transferring cover from the employee on leave to the locum for this period.
All sounds fine, however, there are some major implications to all sides. Firstly, the employee is no longer covered during the leave period. So what happens if a claim is brought against the senior partner while he/she is skiing the piste? Secondly, the cover ends for the locum when the placement ends. So, if a claim arrives 6 weeks after a locum placement finishes, is the locum still covered?
The locum is also relying on the goodwill of the practice to manage the claim on their behalf under practice indemnity insurance (especially if the locum is self-employed).
The simple solution is for locum veterinarians to attain their own indemnity insurance. These are available from a variety of companies and cost in the region of two days’ locum fees, all tax-deductible of course.
We’re Here to Help!
Find out more about indemnity insurance for locum vets and vet nurses, or contact us at Carlton Professional Recruitment for further information and we can point you in the direction of suitable specialists to talk to.