Benefits of solo parents under the law

Published by rudy Date posted on March 21, 2011

Dear PAO,
I am an unwed pregnant mother. I found out that I am conceiving a child days after I broke up with my boyfriend. I wish to keep the baby without the pressure of marrying my former boyfriend. If so, am I to be categorized as a solo parent? What are the benefits that I can avail as a solo parent? Thank you very much.
Mymy

Dear Mymy,
Republic Act 8972, or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 is the law that provides for the benefits and privileges to which solo parents and their children are entitled.

For your understanding, we deem it necessary to enumerate the individuals who are considered as solo parent. Section 3(a) of the said Act provides, to wit:

“Section 3. Definition of Terms.—Whenever used in this Act, the following terms shall mean as follows:

(a) “Solo parent”—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 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 this Act, such that he/she is no longer left alone with the responsibility of parenthood, shall terminate his/her eligibility for these benefits.”

Clearly, as soon as you give birth without getting married and you decide to raise your child on your own, you are considered a solo parent under paragraph number 8 of Section 3 as quoted above.
The following are the benefits you may avail of:

• 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, provide that it shall not affect individual and company productivity. However, in certain meritorious grounds, the employer may request exemption from Department of Labor and Employment. (Section 3(e) and Section 6)

• No work discrimination. No employer shall discriminate against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status. (Section 7)

• Parental leave. This leave benefit is 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 working days every year shall be granted to any solo parent employee who has rendered service of at least one year. (Section 3(d) and Section 8)

• Educational benefits which includes 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. (Section 9)

• Housing benefits which includes the allocation in housing projects with liberal terms of payment on said government low-cost housing projects. (Section 10)

• Medical assistance, with comprehensive health care program for solo parents and their children which is to be implemented by the Department of Health through their retained hospitals and medical centers and the local governments through their provincial/district/city/municipal hospitals and rural health units. (Section 11)

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. –PERSIDA ACOSTA, Manila Times

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net or via text message (key in: Times dearpao and send to 2299).

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