Parental leave, flexible work schedule for solo parents

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My brother wants to know if he can avail of extra leave credits as he is the only one taking care of his 8-year-old son. He works as a clerical staff for a small private company in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila) and they are allowed to have five days’ leave with pay. But the thing is that his son figured in an accident and is in need of therapy sessions. So, my brother needs to accompany him. He has already used up his 5-day leave and is worried that he might not be able to attend to his son’s medical needs. Your advice will be highly appreciated.
Ila

Dear Ila,
Our labor laws guarantee the grant of a yearly five (5)-day service incentive leave (SIL) with pay to private employees, pursuant to provisions of Article 95, Labor Code of the Philippines, in relation to Section 1, Rule V, Book III, Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Labor Code of the Philippines.

Taking into account the facts which you have shared with us, it appears that the employer of your brother has complied with what is required by the law, but it just so happened that he desires to avail of extra leaves in order for him to attend to the medical needs of his son. Accordingly, it will be prudent on his part to examine first the provisions of his employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, if there be any, so that he can determine if there are any other leave benefits granted to him as an employee of their company.

Should there be none, he may consider availing of the parental leave granted under Republic Act (RA) 8972, or the “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.” As provided under Section 8 of this law, such benefit is not more than seven (7) working days every year, in addition to the leave privileges granted under existing laws, for a solo parent employee who has rendered service of at least one (1) year.

We, however, wish to emphasize that your brother must fall within one of the appropriate categories provided under Section 3 (a) of RA 8972, to wit: (1) He is left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood (a) due to death of his spouse; (b) because the latter is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one year; (c) due to physical and/or mental incapacity of his spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner; (d) due to legal separation or de facto separation from his spouse for at least one year, as long as he is entrusted with the custody of his child/children; (e) due to declaration of nullity or annulment of his marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he is entrusted with the custody of his child/children; and (f) due to abandonment of spouse for at least one year; or (2) He is an unmarried father who has preferred to keep and rear his child/children instead of having others care for him/them or giving them up to a welfare institution.

If your brother is qualified under the foregoing, he may make use of the parental leave to accompany his son for his therapy sessions, provided that he notifies his employer of the availment thereof within a reasonable time period and he presents his Solo Parent Identification Card to his employer (Section 19, IRR, RA 8972). Please note that the parental leave is non-cumulative. It is also not convertible to cash, unless specifically agreed upon previously. A solo parent, however, may seek damages if such leave was denied as a result of non-compliance by the employer with the provisions of the Rules. (Sections 18 and 20, Id.)

Apart from the parental leave, your brother may also consider asking for a flexible work schedule from his employer, provided that such will not affect his individual productivity as well as company productivity and that the Department of Labor and Employment has not given his employer an exemption based on meritorious grounds (Section 6, RA 8972).

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.

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

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