I am separated from my husband and we have a child who is 20 years old now. My child is still studying, but is in another place. His father is not providing support, because according to him we are already separated. Can I still avail of the benefits of the Solo Parent Act, more particularly the parental leave even if my son is already of age but still dependent on me? I intend to use my parental leave to visit and take care of my child who is studying in another province.
A parent who is left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood because of legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year and who is entrusted with the custody of the children is considered a solo parent under Section 3 (a) of Republic Act (RA) 8972 or the Solo Parent Act of 2000. A parent is also considered a solo parent if he or she is left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood because of abandonment of spouse for at least one (1) year. The children who are mentioned to be in the custody of solo parents pertain to those living with and dependent upon solo parents 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. (Section 3[b], Ibid.)
Among the benefits of RA 8972 for solo parents are comprehensive package of social development and welfare services, flexible work schedule, parental leave, educational benefits, housing benefits and medical assistance.
Parental leave as a benefit for a solo parent provides for additional leave of not more than seven (7) working days every year, provided that he or she has rendered at least one (1) year of service with his or her employer. (Section 8, Id.) It is our opinion that you cannot anymore avail of the additional seven (7) days leave even if you intend to make use of the leave credits to visit or take care of your child who is studying in another place even if he is still dependent upon you. As stated above, the children who are under the custody of the solo parents should not be more than 18 years of age, dependent upon the solo parents for support, unmarried and unemployed. A person who is 18 years of age and above may only be considered a “child” within the purview of RA 8972 if he or she is incapable of self-support because of mental and/or physical defect/ disability.
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated or elaborated.
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