While working as a locum pharmacist can be incredibly rewarding, it’s also natural to be concerned about working in a non-permanent position. 

Many people will want to know how they’ll pay their taxes, what kind of holiday pay they’ll receive, and whether or not they’ll get to benefit from the same kinds of workplace protections as their full-time colleagues. Here, we go through some of the basics with regard to your employment rights as a locum pharmacist to help you make an informed decision about whether it’s the right career for you.

This is a contributed article.

Holiday and sick pay

As locum pharmacists tend to be self-employed or contractors, they do not typically get to benefit from holiday pay and sick pay. This is somewhat reflected in the comparatively higher pay that locum pharmacists receive, but it still needs to be planned around.

It’s important to put some money aside for emergencies or organise some kind of self-employed payment insurance. There are a number of things you can do to limit the financial side effects of becoming seriously ill, and it’s important that you look into those solutions and take them seriously.

Workplace protections

While you won’t typically be entitled to sick pay or holiday pay as a locum pharmacist, you will still be afforded all of the same workplace protections that all workers in the UK are entitled to. These include rights to protect you against harassment and discrimination and a more general right to work in a safe environment. Your health and safety should be a top concern for your employer, and you shouldn’t feel in danger while going about your job.


If you’re registered as self-employed as a locum pharmacist, then you’ll likely have to file your own personal tax return, rather than simply have it taken directly from your pay. While you can do this yourself using the government site, there are also a number of online services that can do it all for you. If you want even more help with it, and advice on what kinds of things you can write off as expenses, then it can be a good idea to reach out to an accountant for further information.

What’s expected from you as a locum pharmacist

On the other hand, you may be wondering if your responsibilities will differ compared to full-time pharmacists. Even though you’ll find work through agencies such as Pharma Seekers, you’ll still need to be registered with the GPhC, and will still be required to operate according to the standards that they set, committing to ongoing professional development throughout your career.

Working as a locum pharmacist can be a little bit more complicated in some ways compared to working as a full-time pharmacist. However, you get to benefit from competitive pay and an incredibly high level of flexibility in your professional life. You still enjoy all of the same workplace protections as your colleagues, but you can pick and choose when and where you work at all times. If you’re looking for an exciting, dynamic professional life, it’s definitely an option worth considering.