Sick leave is about to double - but you may not be able to access it immediately

The Government hopes to make it a little easier to stay home when you're sick, with a boost to sick leave.

Minimum entitlements double from Saturday, but not everyone will be able to access that immediately.

In just two months, Jasmine Plowright has used up all of her sick leave to look after her children - leaving none for herself.

"I worry that I'm coming into work when I shouldn't be really, and I'm constantly looking out for my children and putting them first before myself," she said.

Plowright is a parent and worker at Pineapples, an early learning centre in west Auckland.

Nearly a third of the children enrolled at Pineapples are away because they're sick, or because they're on a 48-hour stand-down after having flu or gastroenteritis.

"It spreads like wildfire; anything like chickenpox, hand, foot in mouth, those kinds of things," said Amy Fraser, Pineapples owner and manager.

"In an environment like this, no matter how clean you are, it spreads so quickly."

And because those kids have been sick, most of their parents have had to take the day off too.

"They're in a rock and a hard place because they need to look after their child, but then there's not enough sick days to cover it," Fraser said.

"And then pressures from work saying 'you really need to be here'. And if they've got to take a week off work, that's a big thing, it's huge."

From Saturday, being able to stay home should be a little easier - the Government's doubling minimum sick leave entitlements from five to 10. With those bugs doing the rounds, it can't come soon enough.

"It actually offers a lot of peace of mind," says Plowright. "Just having that support of actually being able to take a sick day for myself would be nice."

But not everyone will get that entitlement immediately. Employees currently can only access sick leave after six months' employment, and that won't change just yet.

"It's important this does get done," says Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff.

"Otherwise we have a situation where people in their first six months of work don't have any sick leave, and therefore they're effectively penalised for staying away from work when they shouldn't be at work."

The Government says a provision to access some sick leave from day-dot is on the way.

"We have had problems in the past when the Holidays Act hasn't been implemented well, and that's created big problems for employers and their payroll systems," says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood.

"So we're working through that now with the intention of introducing it into law next year."

Hoping to banish 'she'll be right' to history - and give working parents some more peace of mind.