Single Mom or Single Parent ka din ba? Know your Benefits under ‘The Solo Parent Act of the Philippines’

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Trying to figure out how to raise a baby/child is hard enough with a partner. Without your partner requires a great deal of strength and energy you somehow find. Mas challenging syempre kapag mag-isa kang nagtataguyod para sa anak mo.  If you are a Single Super Mom like me, there are privileges and benefits that we can take advantage under the “The Solo Parent Act of the Philippines” or RA 8972The bill was signed into law on November 7, 2000 and took effect on November 28, 2000. However, the rules and regulations (IRR) was implemented on April 2002. By virtue of Republic Act No. 8972, the state is duty-bound to provide comprehensive program of services, benefits, and privileges for solo parents and their children.


WHO ARE CONSIDERED AS SOLO PARENT? Solo Parent is any individual who falls under any of the following categories:
1. A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender, provided that mother keeps and raises the child.
2. Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the following circumstances:
a. Due to death of spouse.
b. Spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year.
c. Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner.
d. Legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.
e. Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.
3. 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. 4. Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children. 5. 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.

THESE ARE THE COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SOLO PARENT ACT
DOES THE SOLO PARENT ACT APPLY TO THOSE WHOSE SPOUSE IS ABROAD? The law did not consider this as one of the categories of solo parent since the other spouse still exercises duties over his/her family. However, if the other parent is abroad and has lost contact with his/her family for a year or more, the other parent who is left with the custody of the family, may be considered as solo parent, provided proofs are presented to qualify as such.

WHAT IS THE PACKAGE OF SERVICES FOR SOLO PARENT?
The comprehensive package of programs/services for solo parents includes livelihood, self-employment and skills development, employment-related benefits, psychosocial, educational, health and housing services.

WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR SUPPORT?
Any solo parent whose income in the place of domicile falls below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area shall be eligible for assistance. A Solo Parent can directly inquire from the following agencies to avail of their services:
1. Health Services (DOH)
2. Educational Services (CHED, TESDA)
3. Housing (NHA)
4. Parental Leave (Employer, DOLE, CSC) Solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold shall enjoy only such limited benefits as flexible work schedule, parental leave and others to be determined by the DSWD.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO AVAIL OF THE PACKAGE OF SERVICES?
A solo parent shall apply for a Solo Parent Identification Card (Solo Parent ID) from the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development (C/MSWD) Office. Once the C/MSWD Office issues the Solo Parent ID, a solo parent can apply for services he/she needs from the C/MSWD Office or to specific agencies providing such assistance/services.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS IN SECURING A SOLO PARENT ID?
1. Barangay certificate residency in the area;
2. Documents/Evidence that the applicant is a solo parent (e.g. death certificate of spouse, declaration of nullity of marriage, medical certificate – if incapacitated); and
3. Income Tax Return (ITR) or certification from the barangay/municipal treasurer.

IF A SOLO PARENT FILES THE APPLICATION, CAN AN ID BE SECURED RIGHT AWAY? No. The Social Worker has to complete the assessment/evaluation of the solo parent situation. The ID will be issued after 30 days from filing. The validity of the ID is one year and is renewable.

WHAT IS PARENTAL LEAVE?
Parental Leave refers to leave benefits granted to a solo parent to enable said parent to perform parental duties and responsibilities where physical presence is required as provided under Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular No. 08, series 2004.

IS PARENTAL LEAVE RETROACTIVE SINCE THE LAW TOOK EFFECT LAST NOVEMBER 2000?
No. Parental leave is non-cumulative and can be availed only during the current year. Further, it can only be availed after the issuance of the Solo Parent ID.

IS THE 7-DAY PARENTAL LEAVE IN ADDITION TO THE EXISTING 3-DAY SPECIAL LEAVE PRIVILEGE?
The law clearly indicates that the granting of the 7-day parental leave is on top of the 3-day special leave and other mandatory leave benefits.

CAN A SOLO PARENT APPLY FOR PARENTAL LEAVE FOR ANY CHILD?
Yes, as long as the child is living with him/her, dependent for support, unmarried, unemployed and below eighteen (18) years old, or eighteen (18) years old and above but is incapable of self-support and/or with physical/mental defect/disability.

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR GRANTING PARENTAL LEAVE TO SOLO PARENTS?
The parental leave of seven (7) days shall be granted to any Solo Parent employee subject to the following conditions:
1. The solo parent must have rendered government service for a least one (1) year, whether continuous or broken, reckoned at the time of the effectivity of the law on September 22, 2002, regardless of the employment status.
2. The parental leave shall be availed of every year and shall not be convertible to cash. If not availed within the calendar year, said privilege shall be forfeited within the same year. Q & A on Solo Parent’s Welfare Act and Parental Leave 3
3. The parental leave shall be availed of on a continuous or staggered basis, subject to the approval of the Administrator. In this regard, the solo parent shall submit the application for parental leave at least one (1) week prior to availing the solo parent leave, except on emergency cases.
4. The solo parent employee may avail of parental leave under any of the following circumstances:
a. Attend to personal milestones of a child such as birthday, communion, graduation and other similar events;
b. Perform parental obligations such as enrollment and attendance in school programs, PTA meetings and the like;
c. Attend to medical social, spiritual and recreational needs of the child;
d. Other similar circumstances necessary in the performance of parental duties and responsibilities, where physical presence of the parent is required.
5. The head of agency/office concerned may determine whether granting of parental leave is proper or may conduct the necessary investigation to ascertain if grounds for termination and withdrawal of the privilege exist.

You may also check this link for reference about the Republic Act No. 8972:
http://www.gov.ph/2000/11/07/republic-act-no-8972/

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