You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The announcement came during Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's post-Cabinet press conference this afternoon.
Within the next few weeks, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood will introduce legislation increasing the yearly sick leave allowance from five days to 10.
"Covid-19 has shown how important it is to stay at home when people are sick," he said
He added that amending the current rules will mean more workers can stay at home if they're sick, and more sick leave will help support working parents.
Ardern said the Government was "getting down to business" with introducing new legislation and the new sick leave laws would bring New Zealand into line with Australia.
Covid-19 has taught the world that one person's sickness could quickly become someone else's and there was evidence that extra sick leave was actually good for workplace productivity.
The law change also keeps the current maximum entitlement of any unused sick leave at 20 days annually, which will help make it easier for businesses to implement.
Increasing sick leave was one of Labour's pre-election promises.
Today's announcement means the bill is expected to pass in mid-2021 and will go through the full select committee process so it was able to receive submissions.
Earlier this month, the Greens pushed Labour to rush the planned sick leave legislation through Parliament before Christmas.
"The difference between five and 10 days off could be the difference between increased community transmission of Covid-19 or not," Workplace Relations spokeswoman Jan Logie said.
But Wood said at the time although the bill would be introduced in the House before Christmas, the legislation would come into force in 2021 and would go through the normal consultation process.
National's leader Judith Collins said the policy would only make it harder for workers to keep their jobs - and would cripple businesses as they battle a recession.
"Increasing sick leave entitlements from five to 10 days a year while also increasing the minimum wage to $20 next year shows how out of touch Labour is when it comes to small business," Collins told RNZ.
In a statement today, Wood said while around half of all employers provide the current minimum entitlement of five days, many employers offer 10 days or more already. This will mean no change for them, he said.
"But five days can be easily used up and employees who have used up their sick leave face a choice between working while sick or taking unpaid sick leave, which is not an option for many."