I am a single parent and have been working in a private company for five years now. I found out that our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) does not contain any provision on the leave granted to single parents. What can I do so that single parents like us can avail of this?
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 was enacted to provide assistance to parents or individuals who are left with the sole responsibility of caring and rearing for their children and their family. Among the benefits granted to solo parents in the workplace is the parental leave as provided in Section 8 of R.A. No. 8972, to wit:
Section 8. Parental Leave.—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.
Being specifically provided by law, all the solo parent employees who have met the required length of service of at least one year may avail of the said leave even if it’s not among the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA. However, they need to comply with the following conditions for entitlement of parental leave provided in Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 8972, to wit:
Section 19. Conditions for Entitlement of Parental Leave – A solo parent shall be entitled to parental leave provided that:
(a) He/She has rendered at least one (1) year of service whether continuous or broken at the time of the affectivity of the Act;
(b) He/She has notified his/her employer of the availment thereof within a reasonable time period; and
(c) He/She has presented a Solo Parent Identification Card to his/her employer.
If the solo parent employee did not avail of the parental leave, the same shall not be convertible to cash unless there is a specific agreement to the contrary. However, if an employee were denied a parental leave as a result of non-compliance with R.A. No. 8972 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the aforementioned leave may be used as a basis for the computation of damages (Section 20, Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 8972).
In addition to the parental leave, solo parents shall also have the benefit of having a flexible work schedule and the right against discrimination in the workplace, as provided in Sections 6 and 7, respectively of R.A. No. 8972:
Section 6. Flexible Work Schedule.—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.
Section 7. 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.
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.