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(Australian Associated Press)
Thousands of new mothers are expected to qualify for paid parental leave after changes to eligibility requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The temporary changes have been unveiled in the federal budget and are expected to help 9000 mothers, as well as 3500 fathers and partners.
Parents must usually have worked 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of their child in order to qualify for paid parental leave.
But for parents with children born or adopted between March 22 this year and March 31 next year, the work period will be extended to 10 months out of the previous 20.
More than $2 billion each year over the forward estimates has been set aside for the paid parental leave.
Government costs for paid parental leave are expected to decrease by 5.6 per cent in 2020/21 compared to the previous financial year.
The government expects demand for the payment to return to pre-pandemic levels as employment improves.