Good news for those solo parents, though lots of them don’t even know what this is all about, what are the benefits and privileges entitled to them? On the other hand, others might heard this before but they don’t know how to apply or avail for it. Great thing this article will going to discuss the solo parent’s rights as implemented by Law. This article involves the qualifications, requirements, procedure, and the package of services for Solo Parent.
Originally, the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines Congress enacted REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8972 or the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act, was signed into law on November 7, 2000 and took effect on November 28, 2000. This provides benefits and privileges to solo parents and their children. It aims to develop a comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their children to be carried out by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the lead agency, various government agencies including NSO and other related NGOs.
Who are Considered as Solo Parent?
Solo Parent is any individual who falls under any of the following categories:
- 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.
- Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the following circumstances:
- Due to death of spouse.
- Spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year.
- Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner.
- 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.
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.
- 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 a 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.
Requirements and Procedure in Securing a Solo Parent ID
Step 1. Go to the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office
Step 2. Bring the following documents:
- Barangay certificate certifying Solo Parent’s residency in the barangay for the last six months
- Documents/Evidence that the applicant is a solo parent (e.g. death certificate of spouse, declaration of nullity of marriage, medical certificate – if incapacitated
- Income Tax Return (ITR) or certification from the barangay/municipal treasurer.
Step 3. The social worker receives and ensures that all documents are complete and registers the applications with an appropriate case number in the log-book Registry of Solo Parents.
Step 4. 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.
The ID will be issued after 30 days from filing. The validity of the ID is one year and is renewable.
Criteria for Support
Any Solo Parent whose income 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:
- Health Services (DOH)
- Educational Services (CHED, TESDA)
- Housing (NHA)
- Parental Leave (Employer, DOLE, CSC)
Note: A 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.
Solo Parent other Benefits or Previledges
Flexible work schedule
A solo parent employee has the right 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 is prohibited from discriminating against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.
The parental leave of seven (7) days shall be granted to any Solo Parent employee subject to the following conditions:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The solo parent employee may avail of parental leave under any of the following circumstances:
- Attend to personal milestones of a child such as birthday, communion, graduation and other similar events;
- Perform parental obligations such as enrollment and attendance in school programs, PTA meetings and the like;
- Attend to medical social, spiritual and recreational needs of the child;
- Other similar circumstances necessary in the performance of parental duties and responsibilities, where physical presence of the parent is required.
- 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.