The Green Party is backing calls to double New Zealanders' minimum sick leave from five to 10 days and will campaign on making the change under the Holidays Act.
Bolstering sick leave would ensure sick workers could stay home which would strengthen the country's response to Covid-19, said the party's workplace relations spokeswoman Jan Logie.
"Self-isolating when unwell is a crucial part of the public health response. However, it shouldn't be working people having to shoulder the burden of this by being made to take unpaid sick leave," Logie said.
The Green Party, if re-elected, would also remove the requirement for a medical certificate for short duration illnesses including cold and flu.
It is also promising to explore a rebate scheme for small businesses, to ensure they can adjust to the increased provisions without adverse effects on their business.
"The Ministry of Health has rightfully set very firm guidelines for people to stay home if they're sick. However, the Government must ensure people are able to do so without worrying about paying the bills," said Logie.
The Covid-19 leave support scheme was extended this week following the outbreak in Auckland which is available to any worker advised to self-isolate by the Ministry of Health and isn't able to work from home.
The caveat of the business suffering a 30 per cent financial loss because of the impact of the pandemic was also dropped.
Logie said the Greens welcomed the extension, "but this is only a short-term solution".
When the Government was putting together the scheme during the March outbreak, officials were worried loss of income was a barrier to people self-isolating which was vital for the public health response.
Advice to Cabinet showed it's was common practice for businesses to just give their employees the five day statutory minimum which is typically exhausted - or nearly exhausted - each year.
The situation was "worse" for workers in vulnerable categories, like casual employees, officials said.
"These workers may feel compelled to go to work, even in light of the broadened requirements to self-isolate. This is especially likely for the lower paid, more vulnerable workers, where they are less able to meet ongoing costs of living.
"Many workers who are contractors are in this category, along with self-employed owner/operators, and have no leave entitlements."
New Zealand's five day statutory minimum under the Holidays Act is only awarded after being with a company for six months and is at the lower end of OECD countries.
Australia provides 10 days while Sweden provides 14 and Germany offers six weeks however Canada also offers five.
The Green's election promise has beaten Labour to the punch, with it also widely expected to campaign on a policy promising to increase sick leave requirements.
The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has been also been calling for extending sick leave to 10 days and removing the requirement for doctors' notes and has amassed almost 10,000 signatures on its petition.
CTU resident Richard Wagstaff said five days' sick leave was "simply not enough".
"For most people that have used their sick leave entitlement the choice is to go to work sick or stay home and not be paid. Most people cannot afford to go without a day's pay. So many will be forced to go to work sick."
Logie said their Poverty Action Plan would also reform ACC in a way which provides unlimited top-ups for people who are unwell in the long term.
"Covid-19 has shown us that we must do more to ensure people are able to take leave when they need it, so we need to think long-term about how we approach sick leave."