Even as a GP locum there are some simple and affordable steps you can take to reduce the risk of losing out financially if you can't work through illness.
Your ability to receive income whilst off work through ill health whilst working as a GP locum very much depends on your employment status i.e. whether you're an employee, self-employed or 'worker'.
Remember that your legal employment status is something that is not necessarily determined by you, and is different to your tax employment status and your NHS pension employment status.
This FAQ is from the perspective of being a GP locum in the same practice for a 'long time', rather than about choosing working as a GP locum as part of your career portfolio.
It explains it from four different perspectives - NHS pension scheme, HMRC tax perspective, employment law and 'mission creep', and there's even an audio podcast too.
I work for a locum agency
- If you're working through the agency as their employee and fulfil certain criteria, including having been ill for at least 4 days in a row, you will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks.
- You may in fact be entitled to more if the agency has a sick pay or 'occupational' scheme, but check your contract to see if that applies.
- Remember that even if a company has taken you on as self-employed, there may be factors within the way you work that may point to your employment status being otherwise.
- If you're classified as a 'Worker' because of the way you work for your agency, you may still be entitled to SSP.
- If you're genuinely engaged as self-employed...
- If you're locuming in different practices using your own Terms and Conditions, managing your own bookings and determining the way within which you work, either manually or through platforms like LocumDeck, then your employment status is likely to fall within the self-employed status.
- In which case, you don't qualify for SSP in that role.
- But if you already have a Locum Insurance Policy, then this could cover you for up to £3,000 a week or 75% of your earnings for a year if you’re ill or injured and can’t work.
I work for an online locum platform
- If when working for an online platform as a GP, engaging with practices under the platform's T&Cs and not your own, make sure you understand your employment status and entitlements, and be prepared to question your employment status if you're not entirely satisfied with what you're being told.
What about Permanent Health Insurance and Critical Illness Cover?
These are policies for much longer long-term benefits. Read this for more information: