Industry sector:

Osteopath: Wages

Money that you take from the business to cover your own personal living expenses is known as 'Drawings'. This should not be included here, but will be dealt with elsewhere in the cash flow.

Before you can make an estimate of the wages you will pay each month to your employees you will need to identify the work that must be done and how many people will be needed to do it - you may decide that you don't need any employees at all.

Clinic staff

If you decide that you do need to take people on, the number you employ is likely to vary depending on the size and scope of the clinic. Your employees may include:

  • other osteopaths, including those working as assistants or locums
  • other therapists who can offer services that you are not trained to provide, such as specialists in acupuncture, reflexology and so on. Bear in mind that by offering additional therapies, you may need a special treatments licence from the local authority
  • a receptionist or secretary to answer the phone, make appointments, organise patients files, deal with health insurance companies and carry out other administrative duties

Holidays and sick days

You need to decide what your approach to holidays and sick leave will be. If you are a sole practitioner, you may decide to reschedule your appointments and close the clinic (which may be inevitable sometimes when you are ill) or you may choose to employ a locum. If you will employ a locum, don't forget to include the amount you will pay them in your cash flow.

Levels of pay

The wages you pay your staff will depend to some extent on what is the going rate in your area. The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), which is carried out by the government, gives average weekly wages (national and regional) for a wide range of different types of job. The Survey is available online on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website.

Don't forget:

  • you could use a combination of full and part-time staff. Part-time work is often attractive to parents with children at school
  • the National Minimum Wage Act sets a minimum amount that you must pay your staff. Workers aged 25 and over receive a Living Wage premium on top of the standard National Minimum Wage
  • there is employment legislation that you should be aware of
  • you will have to pay employer's National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and you will have to operate PAYE in 'real time'. You may have to make employers' minimum contributions to an auto-enrolment pension scheme too

In the cash flow, just put the amounts you will actually pay to staff after you have deducted NICs and PAYE - you will show these separately. You should also include here the cost of staff pensions.