Top 10 Tips for locum workers to bring home the best take home pay

Hi Ralph

IR35 Status

Check your IR35 status for each contract. Your responsibilities and role may change with each contract so don’t assume that if you are out of IR35 for one contract, you are for your next. Get independent advice for each contract you enter into.

Good representation

Make sure you have a good recruitment agency who will negotiate on your behalf. Work with your consultant before, during and after a placement so they get to know your skills, goals and aspirations and can look out for the best roles for you.

Area of expertise

Whether this is technology as a locum occupational therapist or working to prevent Child Sexual Exploitation as a locum social worker, gaining an area of specialism will put you ahead of the game for sought after placements. With political focus on areas such as CSE, local authorities will go out of their way to recruit good workers with a good track record and niche skills.

Keep on top of your CPD 

Not only a requirement of your registration, a proven track record in CPD will show your skills, commitment and suitability to good positions.

Neighbouring authorities

Check neighbouring authorities for pay differences - it might mean you need to travel but the rates of pay for neighbouring authorities can vary greatly meaning your take home pay could be far greater.

Turning services around

Children’s services deemed as ‘failing authorities’ or requiring service improvement by Ofsted are often in search of skilled locum social workers to go into an authority and hit the ground running to help turn the service around and may be willing to pay more.

Umbrella companies

Ensure you are with a good compliant umbrella company who will represent your needs and best interests without falling foul of ‘disguised remuneration schemes’.

Non-compliant schemes

Avoid non-compliant schemes at all costs. Companies operating schemes may promise greater take home pay for your buy-in to offshore loan, annuities, bonus schemes. However, these are not compliant with HMRC which takes a dim view on involvement with them. If you are investigated, you are likely to face bills for unpaid tax, penalties and interest.


Many jobs through agencies will say that the salary is negotiable – so do just that. Have faith in your skills and abilities. Build a portfolio of your work, CPD, achievements, testimonials and references to back your case for negotiating the best rates of pay, demonstrating your suitability for good roles.

Plan ahead

Think where you want to be in two years’ time and the skills and experience you need to get that dream job. Plan accordingly for what you need to do to achieve this and discuss with your consultant.