Raising a child is not an easy task. There are responsibilities and duties that parents have to fulfill in order to give their children the life that they deserve. All the challenges and struggles that parents overcome by themselves just to spare their children from those hardships. But imagine all those responsibilities and duties, challenges and struggles, being experienced by only one parent.
Being a parent is already a difficult task, being a solo parent is even more so. Solo parents are people who have to fill in another pair of shoes instead of just one. Despite the recent unnecessary and highly inappropriate comment made by one of the questionable senators here in the Philippines, Filipinos continue to still uphold the importance of families in our society, no matter what circumstance they may be in. Since it is timely, it best to be reminded that the government has recognized these unsung heroes and have created a law that would protect and assist solo parents in the country.
“AN ACT PROVIDING FOR BENEFITS AND PRIVILEGES TO SOLO PARENTS AND THEIR CHILDREN, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8972 known as “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000”
This was the law created in July 2000. This law has created a comprehensive program of services that cater to solo parents and their children by different Philippine government agencies and as well as nongovernment agencies. If this law is new to your ear, and you or someone you know, might find this useful, and continue to read below more about the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.
Be knowledgeable of what is recognized as a Solo Parent under this act in order to know if whether or not your current status is applicable. Under the act, a Solo Parent is defined as an individual that are any of the following categories below:
- A woman who has given birth due to unfortunate circumstances such as rape and other crimes against chastity without a final conviction of the offender: Given that the woman, the mother, has chosen to keep and raise the child;
- A parent who has been left alone with the responsibility of being the parent because of a death of spouse;
- A parent who has been left alone with the responsibility of being the parent while the spouse is detained or serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least a year;
- A parent who has been left alone with the responsibility of being the parent because of the physical and/or mental incapacity of the spouse, but has to be certified by a public medical practitioner;
- A parent who has been left alone with the responsibility of being the parent because of legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least a year, as long as he/she is the one that has been entrusted with the custody of the children;
- A parent who has been left alone with the responsibility of being the parent because of declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decided and validated by a court or by a church as long as he/she is the one entrusted with the custody of the children;
- A parent who has been left alone with the responsibility of being the parent because of abandonment of spouse for at least a year;
- An unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;
- Any other person who has taken the responsibility to solely provide parental care and support to the child or children;
- Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent.
Children who are also covered under this act are those that of ages 18 and below with the exception of those with mental and/or physical defect/disability.
In order for a Solo Parent to be apply for the support the criteria under the act states that the income of the Solo Parent must be below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and such must also be assessed by a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) worker to check if the individual is eligible for assistance.
But for those Solo Parents who do have an income that is above the poverty threshold, the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 also provides different kinds of benefits.
Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 Benefits
1) Comprehensive Package of Social Development and Welfare Services.
– This is a package that highlights social development and welfare services to solo parents and their families. This package is developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, while coordinating with local government units (LGUs) and as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that have shown positive track record when providing services and opportunities for solo parents.
The package includes services on different kinds of livelihood development that include trainings when it comes to livelihood skills, basic business management, value orientation and the provision of seed capital or even job placement.
There is also counseling services may it be for an individual, peer group or even family counseling. This is to highlight the importance of having strengthened personal relationships in order to resolve future conflicts or problems.
Services on parent effectiveness will be provided as well. And this will include the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of the solo parent regarding the topic of early childhood development, behavior management, health care, rights and duties of parents and children.
Stress debriefing is given as well and this includes preventive stress management strategy intended to help Solo parents in coping with negative situations such as crisis and cases of any kind of abuse.
Even special projects for individuals are a benefit under this act. This special project involves temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.
2) Flexible Work Schedule.
– You as a Solo Parent have every right to have a flexible working schedule from your employer. Given that the said schedule will not be a negative reason that will affect individual and company productivity. Provided, further, that your employer has requested exemption from the above requirements from the DOLE on certain meritorious grounds.
3) Work Discrimination.
– Your employer has no right to discriminate you or use the fact that you are a Solo Parent against you with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of your status.
4) Parental Leave.
– As a Solo Parent¸ under the Philippine constitution, you are given additional leave privileges in addition to the existing laws. A parental leave of not more than 7 working days every year is granted to any solo parent employee who has rendered service to his/her employee of at least 1 year. This is non-cumulative.
5) Educational Benefits.
– The three agencies, DECS, CHED and TESDA shall provide the will be providing the following benefits and privileges to families with a Solo Parent.
First is that scholarship programs will be given for those who are qualified as solo parents and their children in institutions of basic, tertiary and technical/skills education.
Secondly, appropriate Nonformal education programs can be granted as well as fo solo parents and their children.
6) Housing Benefits.
– A given allocation will be granted to Solo Parents who are pursuing to have housing projects and the allocation shall be provided with liberal terms of payment on said government low-cost housing projects in accordance with housing law provisions prioritizing applicants below the poverty line as declared by the NEDA.
7) Medical Assistance.
– This is a comprehensive health care program created by DOH targeted for solo parents and their children. The program is implemented by the DOH through their retained hospitals and medical centers and the LGUs through their provincial/district/city/municipal hospitals and rural health units (RHUs).
The questions below are those commonly asked by Solo Parents.
“When can I avail of the Solo Parent Leave?”
You may avail of this leave, with pay, on the circumstances that your child/children gets ill, a mandatory attendance for the Parent-Teacher Association, enrollment purposes, and other circumstances wherein the physical presence is required.
“I am a househelper/driver/janitor, am I applicable for the Solo Parent Leave?”
Yes you are. Just as long as you fall under the definition of a Solo Parent and your child falls under the said definition as well.
“What do you mean by flexible work schedule?”
The flexible work schedule allowed by DOLE is: 1) A compressed workweek – workhours of 48 hours, meaning 6 days, can be compressed to 5 days. This makes it 9.6 hours per day with a Monday-Friday schedule; 2) Gliding Time Schedule – simply a flexible time to punch in within 7 am – 9 am and also punch out AFTER 8 hours of work; and 3) If there are any other work agreements that have been discussed and agreed upon by both parties.
“My employer has rejected my request for flexible work schedule, is that allowed?”
Yes it is. If your employer has approached DOLE and asked for an exemption from this, and it has been approved, then your employer can reject your request.
It isn’t easy to be a Solo Parent, in order to ease the burden by a bit, educate yourself in what our government can do to help you.
Pa share mga Ka-OFW. Salamat!