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Working as a Locum – Part 2

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This article covers information specific to working in Australia as a locum vet, and is taken from fact sheets produced by Kookaburra Veterinary Employment.

Registration as a Vet

Locum Vet photoYou need to register in each State in which you want to work* (see information below about National Recognition of Registration), and you must be registered prior to your first day of work. The contact details for all the Vet Boards are listed on our website at http://www.kookaburravets.com/Australia/Ozlinks.htm on the links page. The requirements vary from State to State but basically you’ll need to fill out the forms, pay the fee, provide proof of your ID and degree certificate, and probably provide a letter of good standing from the last place you were registered with) The Fee varies a lot, contact the state boards for current pricing. Some States have pro rata registration which is really handy for locums, and WA has temporary registration on a month to month basis (maximum 3 months).

Most vets doing locum work register in just one State to start with until they see where they want to work, and then register as required in others. It doesn’t usually take very long in any of the States (a couple of weeks at most).

Note that in WA you have to present in person at the Board Office in Perth in order to register.

You will get a registration number, and it’s good practice to print the number with your signature when signing any forms in Practice.

*NB: There is currently National Recognition of Registration in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and the ACT – Veterinary surgeons who currently hold primary registration and reside permanently in another Australian state or territory are entitled to practise as a veterinary surgeon in these States on a part-time, casual or locum basis without having to register with the local Veterinary Board. In Northern Territory, secondary registration is now free of charge although vets intending working in the NT should still fill the paperwork out to apply for secondary registration.

Tax

Contact your accountant or the ATO for advice regarding the most tax effective way for you to work as a locum.

Casual Employee

You have to fill out a form notifying your TFN (tax file number) to each employer when you start work, and they then deduct tax from your pay. You have to fill out a Tax Return at the end of the Financial year (June 30), and you may get a tax refund.

Your employer should also pay Superannuation (a compulsory pension) for you into a Super fund, usually of their choice, although once you have a Super fund you can give the details to your next employer and request that they pay into that one as well. Super is currently 9.5% of salary.

Contractor/Self-Employed

Australian locums have historically worked self-employed, however, you have to register as a business and get an ABN – Australian Business Number. You must provide this ABN to the clinic before they can pay you as a contractor/self employed locum. The clinic then pays you in full, and you sort out your own tax. You can find more info at www.ato.gov.au You may also have to register for GST. Unless you are a registered company, for normal locum work it’s likely that the clinic should also pay superannuation for you under the Superannuation Guarantee – consult your accountant or contact the ATO for more information. However, even if you supply the clinic with an ABN and an invoice for your work, it is still possible that for both tax and superannuation purposes you should be treated as an employee. You can find more info and an online calculator to assess whether you are an employee or a contractor at www.ato.gov.au/business/employee-or-contractor/how-to-work-it-out–employee-or-contractor/

Pay Rates

Locum rates range from $35 to $80 an hour (average $55/hr) at the moment (October 2020). If you do out of hours work you should get paid an on call allowance for having the phone for each period up to 24 hours, and then get the relevant hourly rate if you do any calls. Some clinics still pay a % of the professional fee for any out of hours calls. Quite a lot of city practices use out of hours emergency centres now so there’s no OOH duties. Minimum employment conditions are set by the Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award 2010 – you can find copies online by Googling the Award name.

To see 2019 Salary Survey Results compiled by Kookaburra, visit http://www.vetsuppliersdirectory.com.au/2019-salary-survey-results-part-1/

Professional Indemnity Insurance

The Practice Insurer may cover all vets working at the practice – locums should ask the clinic to check. However, it is a good idea to have your own PI Insurance. If working in South Australia, any vet must be covered by either their own or third party PII arrangements as a requirement of registration – and this also applies to vets practising under interstate registration.

Providers include:

  • Veterinary Defence Association 02 8355 9900 info@vetdefenceco.com
  • Guild Insurance 1800 810213
  • Petplan Professional 0411 265746 petplanpro@petplan.com.au

Workcover Insurance

Workcover comprises work health and safety and workers compensation laws. Work-related injuries should be covered by the compulsory insurance required for every employer. Contractors may be covered also, depending on their working arrangements.

Other Professional Registration

Radiation

State legislation requires vets to be licensed in order to use Radiation Equipment. The process varies from State to State – ask the clinic that you are going to be working at. There is now a Mutual Recognition Act that may cover applications for a licence in other States or Territories.

Microchipping

microchip dog photo

Some States have compulsory microchip identification of companion animal cats and dogs, and implanters are required to be licensed in Qld, NSW and Victoria. You may also be required to be licensed to implant microchips in horses.

Author:

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

28/10/2020 |

Locum Vet Checklist for Employers

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Employing a locum vet can happen in a rush – but there are several things that an Employer in Australia should check prior to the locum starting work. This article is based on the “10 Things to ask your Locum Vet” factsheet written by Kookaburra Veterinary Employment.

Stack of CVs1. Visa.

An overseas vet should have a valid work Visa. It is an offence to employ someone without a valid work visa, so it’s the employer’s responsibility to check. Most overseas vets should have their passport with them or be able to provide details about their visa. See www.border.gov.au for more information. You can now check to see if a worker has work rights in Australia at www.border.gov.au/Busi/Visa – you should ask for consent to check the worker’s visa details first.

2. Tax File Number.

If a vet is going to be working for you as an employee, you will need their Tax File Number. See www.ato.gov.au for more information

3. ABN.

If a vet says that they are self employed, they should provide you with their ABN – Australian Business Number. See www.ato.gov.au for more information, or consult your accountant for individual information about the best way for your practice to pay locums. Some locums are employed as casual employees, some locums are engaged as independent contractors. It’s likely that either way, the clinic will have to pay superannuation under the Superannuation Guarantee. There are Calculators online on the ATO website that help you work out whether your locum is an employee or a contractor, and in either case whether you should be paying superannuation for them. Keeping a record of your use of these calculators can support your decision if necessary.

4. CV and References.

Locum vets should be able to provide contact details for 1 or more recent veterinary referees. Clinics should make sure that any locums introduced to them have the required experience for a particular locum job. Kookaburra Veterinary Employment can provide CVs for all locums listed on their register – these CVs are provided by the locum vets to Kookaburra, and Kookaburra doesn’t provide any warranty as to the accuracy of any CV. We recommend that clinics take up one or more references for a locum prior to booking them for any work.

5. Vet Board Registration.

Following mutual recognition implementation in many States, you can now search for a particular registered veterinarian on the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council website at www.avbc.asn.au and find the State that they have primary registration with. It is good practice for vets to use their board registration number after their signature when signing certificates etc. See www.avbc.asn.au for information about registration of overseas qualified veterinarians.

NB: In Western Australia there is the requirement for a veterinary surgeon who appoints a locum to give written notice to the WA Vet Surgeons’ Board of the name of the locum, and the period of the appointment before, or as soon as possible, after the appointment commences.

6. Professional Indemnity Insurance.

The practice insurer may cover all vets working at the practice, or the Locum vet may have their own PII. It’s a good idea to make sure that all your locums and employees have adequate cover. In South Australia this is a requirement for all vets registering with the SA Vet Board.

7. Workers Compensation.

The locum vet may or may not be covered by the Practice workers compensation scheme – check with your Insurer.

8. Medical Insurance.

The locum vet may have their own medical insurance or, if from overseas, may be covered by a reciprocal agreement with Medicare.

9. Other Professional Registration.

For example, some States require vets to be licensed to use Radiation equipment.   Vets may also need to be registered or licensed to perform other duties such as microchipping, preg testing, certification for export etc.

10. Contract

Although practices and locums may not decide to formally enter into a contract, it could be a good idea to set down terms of employment and working conditions in writing prior to the start of the locum period. Things to consider include:

  • Pay rate;
  • after hours remuneration;
  • days off;Signing a Contract
  • overtime;
  • normal hours of work;
  • type of payment arrangement and when the vet is to be paid;
  • type of employment (casual employee, contractor);
  • Superannuation;
  • GST;
  • Travel Costs;
  • Professional registration costs;
  • Responsibility for keys – for the clinic and for scheduled drugs
  • Accommodation and responsibilities of the locum with respect to the accommodation and use of facilities if applicable (eg phone, internet, food in the pantry);
  • provision of vehicle for work – and private use – and fuel costs;
  • any provision for short term cancellation of the locum period by either party.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Contact the AVA HR Hotline for more information on 1300 788977 or email avahrhotline@whr.com.au (you must be an AVA member).

Author:

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

17/08/2020 |

Working as a Locum – Part 1

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To work as a locum, vets should have a minimum of 2 years’ experience, and preferably over 3 years for sole charge practices. Not only is locuming a great way to finance travel, it is also a good way to gain additional experience in working with different people, in a wide variety of different conditions, and improve your veterinary skills.

photo of vetsIn major cities, although there are more clinics in a smaller geographical area, there is usually more competition for locum work, therefore to be assured of a constant supply of work, locums should be willing to travel – and you can miss out on amazing experiences if you don’t consider travelling to work in more rural and regional areas. Country jobs will usually supply accommodation and maybe a vehicle for work and private use, however, city practices very rarely supply either accommodation or a vehicle.

Locum vacancies can range from a single shift to 5 or 6 months’ work, and include full time and part time hours. Locums help cover for temporary staffing shortages, illness, periods of leave and holidays, and parental leave. Jobs can be advertised up to 4 months in advance, however, they can also be listed at very short notice (next day). On average, locum jobs listed with Kookaburra Vet Employment are to start within 1-2 months.

Work

Most clinics require a locum with a minimum of 2-3 years’ experience who doesn’t require direction for most clinical judgments, but who will ask for help if it’s required or if they get out of their depth. Surgical experience is necessary – you must be able to do at least routine surgery including desexings in a timely manner (ie. not take too long).

It can be important to stick to clinic protocols, within a perceived duty of care. Clinics may see a high proportion of particular types of cases – eg ticks; snake bite; poisonings – ask the regular vet before they go away if there is a clinic protocol or for any tips on these type of cases.

Record keeping is extremely important – the locum may move on, but the clinic owner or regular vet then has to continue with ongoing care. Make sure that your handwriting is legible, and you use any computerised system to keep comprehensive clinical notes. Locums should try to fit in with existing staff and not rock the boat!

Make sure that you stick to practice pricing – please don’t undercharge just because you perceive the practice prices to be excessive.

Try not to put things off until the regular vet gets back.

Conduct

Practices expect a locum to be honest, punctual, friendly, polite, and able to take direction if required without taking offence. Derogatory, sexist, and discriminatory behaviour and comments are absolutely not acceptable.

If a work vehicle, or a vehicle for private use is supplied, it should be kept clean on the inside (if not the outside!), and driven with due care and attention. Establish the protocol for paying for petrol before commencing work.

If accommodation is supplied, it should be left clean and tidy. Talk to the employer about any use of private items or groceries if you are staying in their own house BEFORE you use anything, and establish whether you are expected to replace any items used.

CVs and References:

You should be prepared to send your CV to clinics when you apply for a vacancy. It should contain up to date information and be accurate, particularly with up to date contact information for you including a mobile number preferably with a message bank. Include contact details for recent referees, and email addresses, particularly if your referees are overseas.

Contract

Although practices and locums may not decide to formally enter into a contract, it is a good idea to set down terms of employment and working conditions in writing prior to the start of the locum period. Things to consider include:

  • Pay rate;
  • after hours remuneration;
  • days off;
  • overtime;
  • normal hours of work;
  • type of payment arrangement and when the vet is to be paid;
  • type of employment (casual employee, contractor);
  • Superannuation; GST;
  • Travel Costs;
  • Professional registration costs;
  • Responsibility for keys – for the clinic and for scheduled drugs
  • Accommodation and responsibilities of the locum with respect to the accommodation and use of facilities if applicable (eg phone, internet, food in the pantry);
  • provision of vehicle for work – and private use – and fuel costs;
  • any provision for short term cancellation of the locum period by either party.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Contact the AVA HR Hotline for more information – 1300 788977 or email avahrhotline@whr.com.au  (you need to be an AVA member (Australian Veterinary Association).

Author:

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

05/08/2020 |

Vets and Interstate Travel

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Travel Information for VetsFor Vets wanting to travel both into, and around Australia, there is a raft of new requirements and restrictions. This information was updated on 5th August, but requirements can change rapidly at the moment – please check for up to date information before making travel plans.

For Vets wanting to cross border into Queensland:

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19

For Vets wanting to cross border into New South Wales:

https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

For Vets wanting to travel into ACT:

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/

For Vets wanting to cross border into Victoria:

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

  • Metropolitan Melbourne is currently at stage 4 restrictions; Regional Victoria (including Mitchell Shire) will be at stage 3 restrictions from 11:59pm 5 August.
  • From 11.59pm on Wednesday 5 August stay at home restrictions will apply to the whole of Victoria. Face coverings must be worn away from home.
  • Metropolitan Melbourne: From 2 August there is a curfew in Metropolitan Melbourne from 8pm to 5am every evening. From 11:59pm 5 August only permitted businesses can open – Vet clinics are permitted industries, with a COVID Safe Plan. Employees must carry a Permitted worker permit. https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/permitted-worker-scheme-covid-19 – this is the employer’s responsibility to organise
  • Restrictions: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19
  • If you cross into Victoria at the moment, you may face restrictions & quarantine on leaving the State.

For Vets wanting to cross border into Tasmania:

https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/

For Vets wanting to cross border into South Australia:

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/

  • Travel Restrictions: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions
  • A pre-approval process is in place for travelers wishing to enter South Australia – The Cross Border Travel Registration. All travellers intending to enter SA should register for pre-approval.
  • Application for pre-approval: https://www.police.sa.gov.au/online-services/cross-border-travel-application
  • From 29 July, travellers from Victoria are not permitted to travel to South Australia, including South Australians.
  • Essential travellers living in cross border communities have distance based travel restrictions.
  • Non-essential travellers from NSW and ACT must self-quarantine for 14 days, AND submit for COVID-19 testing on the first and 12th days of arrival
  • Travellers from NT, Qld, Tas and WA are able to enter SA directly without restriction.
  • Police will be stopping travellers at checking points.

For Vets wanting to cross border into Western Australia:

https://www.wa.gov.au/government/covid-19-coronavirus

  • Strict border controls are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. You cannot enter Western Australia without an exemption. Most regional travel restrictions within WA were removed on Friday, 5 June 2020.
  • From Sunday 19th July, no one will be allowed into Western Australia if they have been in Victoria or New South Wales in the previous 14 days, unless they meet new exemption requirements. If they do meet requirements, they need to quarantine for 14 days and have a COVID test on arrival and on day 11.
  • Border Control: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-travel-wa

For Vets wanting to cross border into Northern Territory:

https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/

  • From 17th July, all arrivals must fill in a Border Entry Form
  • From 17th July, if you are arriving in the Northern Territory from a delcared COVID-19 hot spot (currently the whole of Victoria, plus Sydney, the South Coast NSW, Port Stephens, Brisbane, Ipswich & Logan in QLD), you must complete 14 days of forced quarantine.
  • If an area you have been in within 14 days of your arrival in the NT is declared a COVID-19 Hotspot you must contact the COVID-19 Hotline 1800 008002
  • Hotspots: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/quarantine/hotspots-covid-19
  • Border Controls: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/domestic-travel

Thanks to Jo Edwards of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment for compiling this list of links.

Author:
Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

Updated 5th August 2020

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This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

08/07/2020 |
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