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Changes to parental leave pass parliament

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More women will be able to access paid parental leave after the federal government changed the work test for workers in dangerous jobs.

Legislation cleared parliament with bipartisan support on Thursday giving extra flexibility to the scheme, allowing families to split their parental leave period into blocks.

Pregnant women working in industries without safe job alternatives - such as in mining or horseracing - would be able to bring forward their work test period.

Currently, women meet the work test if they have worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to giving birth or adopting.

For women in unsafe jobs the 13-month period would be counted from when they finish work, due to the hazardous nature of the role.

Parents will be able to have a gap of up to 12 weeks - up from eight weeks - between two working days and still meet the test.

© AAP 2019