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A locum is a temporary worker who either fills in when permanent staff are unavailable or who freelances professionally.
But not all locums are self-employed. Some are employed by agencies who help place them in short-term working gigs. If this is the case for you, you won’t need to do a tax return. Your taxes will be sorted by the agency.
If you work freelance full-time and not through an agency, you will need to declare your earnings to HMRC by registering for Self Assessment.
Locums can be used in any profession. But they’re common in the medical space e.g. doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists etc.
Hospitals often use locum medical staff to substitute during busy periods.
If you’re working as a locum at regular gigs, make sure you’re aware of the tax changes coming in 2021 with IR35. You may be affected by them so preparation is key.