Do You Get Paid Per Shift as a Locum Doctor?


Do you get paid per shift as a locum doctor?

Becoming a locum doctor is a great idea. There are lots of benefits to the role, which make it much more desirable than that of a salaried role as a doctor. Some of the reasons you might want to become a locum doctor might include:

  • Wanting to achieve a better work-life balance.
  • You want to earn extra income.
  • You may be seeking a more flexible job role.
  • You like change.
  • You’re open to gaining new experience.

Besides the many reasons to become a locum doctor, many people are often a little confused about how locum doctors get paid and if they are paid per shift or per hour.

How Do Locum Doctors Get Paid?

Locum doctors operate as self-employed and are often charged at an hourly rate, which can vary depending on the experience and specialties of the locum. There is no cap on how much a locum can earn per hour; however, many jobs will be advertised within a certain hourly pay range. 

Depending on how the locum doctor finds work, this may impact how they are paid. For example, if working through a locum agency, the locum doctor will be paid hourly for their shifts, and after 1-2 weeks, the agency will pay the locum doctor their salary that has been earned for shifts completed in those 1-2 weeks. 

Generally, locum doctors will be paid by the hour. This will vary depending on the location and what stage of their career they are at. Below is a rough guide to how much you can expect to earn per hour as a locum.


Average Pay Per Hour







How Does It Work?

Locum doctors are paid an hourly rate, which is usually agreed upon by the locum or by the locum agency with the hospital or practice where the locum will be carrying out their work. The locum will then agree to a shift pattern that suits them, show up at the agreed time, and go home at an agreed time. The locum doctor will then be paid for the hours that they work on that shift. 

A shift might be anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.

Some locum roles pay more regularly than others, but normally a locum doctor will receive a paycheck from their locum agency every two weeks. However, it is important to bear in mind that when working as a locum, you are not entitled to any sick days or any annual leave. If you wish to take annual leave or a sick day, then you must do so unpaid. 

Contract Length 

The length of the locum contract can vary from a few days to a few months. This means that locum doctors have the opportunity to earn a sizeable income if they choose to work as many hours as they have available. Due to being paid hourly, a 12-hour day could see an ST3+ doctor earn up to £1,200 in one shift. 

If you're looking for great pay rates, apply now at ThinkLocum. 

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