It is not easy to be a solo parent, a fact recognized by law, and for which reason a number of benefits are granted to individuals, men and women, who fall under the the definition of a solo parent.
Who is considered as a “solo parent”?
(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 the mother keeps and raises the child;
(2) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to death of spouse;
(3) 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 (1) year;
(4) 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;
(5) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to 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;
(6) 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 a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
(7) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to abandonment of spouse for at least one (1) year;
(8) 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;
(9) Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children;
(10) 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.
A change in the status or circumstance of the parent claiming benefits under Republic Act No. 8972, such that he/she is no longer left alone with the responsibility of parenthood, shall terminate his/her eligibility for these benefits.
Who are considered as “children”?
“Children” refer 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/disability.
What is “parental responsibility”?
With respect to minor children, it refers to the rights and duties of the parents as defined in Article 220 of Executive Order No. 209 (also known as the “Family Code of the Philippines“). Article 220 provides that the parents and those exercising parental authority shall have, with the respect to their unemancipated children on wards, the following rights and duties:
(1) To keep them in their company, to support, educate and instruct them by right precept and good example, and to provide for their upbringing in keeping with their means;
(2) To give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding;
(3) To provide them with moral and spiritual guidance, inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-discipline, self-reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate their interest in civic affairs, and inspire in them compliance with the duties of citizenship;
(4) To furnish them with good and wholesome educational materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association with others, protect them from bad company, and prevent them from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;
(5) To represent them in all matters affecting their interests;
(6) To demand from them respect and obedience;
(7) To impose discipline on them as may be required under the circumstances; and
(8) To perform such other duties as are imposed by law upon parents and guardians.
What are the employment-related benefits available to ALL “solo parents”?
Flexible work schedule. This refers to the right of a solo parent employee to vary his/her arrival and departure time without affecting the core work hours as defined by the employer. The employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents, as long as it shall not affect individual and company productivity. In case of certain meritorious grounds, the employer may request exemption from DOLE.
No work discrimination. Employer are prohibited from discriminating against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.
Parental leave. “Parental leave” means leave benefits granted to a solo parent to enable him/her to perform parental duties and responsibilities where physical presence is required. In addition to leave privileges under existing laws, parental leave of not more than seven (7) working days every year shall be granted to any solo parent employee who has rendered service of at least one (1) year.
What other benefits are available to “solo parents”?
Subject to income thresholds (“poverty threshold”) set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area, “solo parents” shall be entitled to the following:
Educational benefits, including scholarship programs for qualified solo parents and their children in institutions of basic, tertiary and technical/skills education, and nonformal education programs appropriate for solo parents and their children.
Housing benefits, including allocation in government low-cost housing projects, with liberal terms of payment.
Medical assistance, with comprehensive health care programs for solo parents and their children to be implemented by the DOH through their retained hospitals and medical centers and the local government units (LGUs) through their provincial/district/city/municipal hospitals and rural health units (RHUs).