Is third-party sick pay non-taxable?

Sick employee

Understanding tax is essential for both employers and employees and dealing with its complexities can be overwhelming. Proper knowledge is crucial for navigating through these intricacies. Employees and employers are always keen on minimizing tax liabilities, but without a solid understanding, it becomes challenging. Third-party sick pay is a form of income or compensation that often leaves employees and employers uncertain about its taxability.
Navigating the tax implications of third-party sick pay necessitates a thorough comprehension of tax regulations. In this blog, we aim to delve into this topic, offering clarity and a comprehensive understanding of whether third-party sick pay is taxable or non-taxable.

Third-Party Sick Pay: Is it Taxable or Non-Taxable?

Third-party sick pay refers to payments made by an external entity, not by the employer, to an employee unable to work due to illness or injury. Now, let’s dive into a crucial aspect: Is this pay taxable?

In general, third-party sick pay is subject to taxation, but this can vary based on certain factors. If a third party, like a health insurance company, provides sick pay to an employee, it is considered taxable income. The tax treatment depends on whether the premiums for the sick pay were paid with pre-tax or after-tax dollars.

Understanding the tax implications of third-party sick pay is vital for both employers and employees.

Pre-Tax Premiums:

If the money used to pay for the insurance covering sick pay wasn’t taxed before, then when you receive the sick pay, it becomes taxable. In this scenario, tax is charged on the sick payment you receive because tax was not charged on the premiums your employer paid before.

After-Tax Premiums:

Conversely, if the health insurance premium was paid with after-tax dollars, the sick pay received by the employee is non-taxable. In this situation, the employee can use the entire payment for their treatment and well-being. This is because, in this scenario, the employee has already paid taxes on the income used to fund the premiums, making the sick pay considered non-taxable.

It’s crucial to understand that the tax treatment of sick pay is intricately linked to its association with either a short-term or long-term disability plan. Short-term disability plans, covering brief periods of incapacity, may have different tax implications compared to long-term plans that cater to more extended periods. Additionally, the source of premium payments, whether covered by the employer or the employee, plays a pivotal role in determining tax outcomes.

For instance, if an employer contributes to the premiums for a short-term disability plan, any subsequent sick pay received may be taxable. On the other hand, if an employee funds the premiums for a long-term disability plan with after-tax dollars, the resulting sick pay is likely to be non-taxable. Grasping these distinctions ensures informed decision-making regarding financial planning and tax obligations, promoting a more comprehensive understanding of the diverse scenarios that can impact the taxable or non-taxable nature of sick pay.


Whether third-party sick pay is taxable or non-taxable depends on several factors, primarily how the premiums for the sick pay were funded. Understanding these nuances is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure accurate tax reporting and compliance. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional or accountant to navigate the intricacies of third-party sick pay taxation and ensure compliance with current tax regulations.

In addressing this topic, simplicity and clarity are key. Knowing the tax implications of third-party sick pay can empower individuals to make informed decisions and fulfill their tax obligations accurately. Keep in mind that tax laws can change, so staying informed and seeking professional advice is always a prudent approach for both employers and employees alike.

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