My brother has an illegitimate son with his former girlfriend. They did not end up together and she already left for Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper. His son is now with the mother of his former girlfriend. My brother visits his son every now and then and he provides financial support. He wants to know if he can avail of the flexible working schedule as well as the other benefits granted under the Solo Parents’ law considering that he is the only parent present here in the Philippines.
Solo parents are granted several benefits under Republic Act (RA) 8972, otherwise known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000. One of these benefits is a flexible working schedule. It is clearly provided under Section 6 of RA 8972 that: “The employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents: Provided, That the same shall not affect individual and company productivity: Provided, further, That any employer may request exemption from the above requirements from the DOLE on certain meritorious grounds.” The purpose of this provision of the law is to provide adequate latitude for solo parents to attend to the needs of his or her child.
In order for a person to avail of the benefits provided under RA 8972, however, he or she must fall under one of the categories of a “solo parent” enumerated under Section 3 of the said law, to wit: “(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.”
In the situation of your brother, it is very unlikely for him to be entitled to the benefits accorded for solo parents, particularly the flexible working schedule, because he does not come within the purview of any of the above-mentioned categories. Even if he visits his son from time to time and provides financial support, such is not enough to warrant the grant of the benefits in his favor.
Moreover, the term “child” or “children” under RA 8972 refers to those who are below eighteen (18) years of age, unmarried, unemployed and/or even over eighteen (18) years old but are incapable of self-support because of mental and/or physical defect/disability, and are living with and dependent upon the solo parent for support (Section 3 (b). In your brother’s case, the care and custody of his minor illegitimate son is left to the mother of his former girlfriend, not with him. Hence, there is no legal basis to grant him the said benefits under the law.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.