HMRC internal manual

Employment Status Manual

ESM4270 - Particular occupations: locum pharmacists

A ’locum’ pharmacist is a pharmacist who is standing in temporarily for another pharmacist. It is not always the case that the tax/NICs treatment of a locum will follow the tax/NICs treatment of the pharmacist replaced.

It is the terms upon which the locum is engaged (written, oral, or implied) that determine status, not the duties performed by the regular pharmacist.

Where the locum is:

  • engaged on a sessional or daily basis, and
  • performs only the statutory requirements of a pharmacist’s job, which is essentially dispensing and supervision of the sale of `pharmacy only’ medicines, and advising on medicines for the treatment of common ailments

the engagement is likely to amount to self-employment.

If, however, the locum takes over the full range of duties of the employed pharmacist which may include:

  • supervision of staff more generally
  • cashing-up
  • re-ordering non-pharmacy stock such as perfumes, sunglasses, toothpaste, and so on

the pharmacist is more likely to be an employee.

There is a standardised form of agreement devised by the National Pharmaceutical Association (NPA) which is commonly utilised for the engagement of locum pharmacists. The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) also provides its members with a suggested contract for locum services

A written document by itself cannot determine status since you may also need to consider:

  • oral and implied terms
  • the extent to which the written terms are followed.

Where you are satisfied that the NPA or PDA agreement is followed, it is likely that the locum will be self-employed. Where the status of the locum remains in doubt, the instructions at ESM0500 onwards should be followed.