A parental leave refers to the leave benefits granted to a solo parent to enable him/her to perform parental duties and responsibilities where physical presence is required[1] to attend to his/her children.[2] A solo parent is entitled to parental leave of not more than seven working days every year so long as the said parent has rendered at least one year of service.[3]

The parental leave for solo parents is granted to any solo parent or individual who is left alone with the responsibility of parenthood[4] due to any of the following:[5]

  • A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender, so long as the mother keeps and raises the child;
  • Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to death of spouse;
  • Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood while the spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one year;
  • Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner;
  • Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
  • Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
  • Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to abandonment of spouse for at least one year;
  • 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 solely provides parental care and support to child or children; or
  • 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.

The solo parental leave may be availed once all of the following are met: (a) he/she has rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or broken; (2) he/she has notified his/her employer that he/she will avail himself/herself of it, within a reasonable period of time; and (3) he/she has presented to his/her employer a Solo Parent Identification Card.[6]

Further, the solo parent is entitled to ask for a flexible work schedule wherein he/she may vary his/her arrival and departure time from the workplace so long as it does not affect the core work hours as defined by the employer.[7]

A solo parental leave benefit is not convertible to cash if not availed.[8] If there is an existing or similar benefit already provided through a company policy or CBA, the same is to be credited so long as it is at least seven days.[9] Emergency or contingency leave cannot be credited as parental leave benefit.[10]

If the solo parent is no longer left with the responsibility of parenthood, his/her eligibility for solo parental leave benefits terminates.[11]

The employer is prohibited from discriminating against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.[12]

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References

[1] R.A. 8972 (Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000), Section 3(d). Parental responsibility are rights and duties of parents as defined in Article 200, Family Code (Section 2[c], R.A. 8972).

[2] Children refers to “those living with and dependent upon the solo parent for support who are unmarried, unemployed and not more than eighteen (18) years of age, or even over eighteen (18) years but are incapable of self-support because of mental and/or physical defect” (Sec. 3[b], R.A. 8972).

[3] R.A. 8972 (Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000), Section 8.

[4] Id at 121.

[5] R.A. 8972 (Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000), Section 3(a).

[6] Id at 121. The Solo Identification Card may be obtained from the DSWD office or the local government unit where he/she resides.

[7] R.A. 8972 (Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000), Section 3 (e).

[8] Id at 121.

[9] Ibid. If the existing benefit is less than that provided for by law, the said benefit is accordingly modified to comply with the requirement of the law.

[10] Id at 121.

[11] R.A. 8972 (Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000), Last Paragraph, Section 3(a).

[12] R.A. 8972 (Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000). Last Paragraph, Section 7.