I just want to ask whether I can rightfully ask my employer to re-schedule my work hours to 7:00am-4:00pm. I am a single mother of a six-year-old boy and I cannot afford to avail of a school bus service for him due to financial constraints. So, I just take him to school in the morning and pick him up in the afternoon. The problem is that his classes end at 4:30 pm and whenever I leave the office at 5:30 pm, since my schedule is 8:30 am-5:30 pm, my son is left in the school alone, very hungry and tired. Please advise me on what I can do.
It may be said that being a single parent is more difficult considering that you need to stand both as mother and father to your child. This difficulty has been recognized by our lawmakers. Accordingly, Republic Act (R.A.) 8972, more commonly known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, was legislated. One of the many benefits afforded by the said law is the grant of flexible work schedule to employed qualified solo parents. In fact, Section 3 (e) of R. A. 8972 defines a flexible work schedule as “the right granted to a solo parent employee to vary his/her arrival and departure time without affecting the core work hours as defined by the employer.” While it is defined as a “right”, we want to emphasize that this is not all-encompassing. Pursuant to Section 6 of R. A. 8972, an employee who is a qualified solo parent may only be allowed to avail of a flexible work schedule provided that the schedule so requested will not affect individual and company productivity.
The employer may even request for an exemption from the Department of Labor and Employment on certain meritorious grounds. In the situation that you have presented before us, we believe that you have a meritorious basis for seeking an earlier work schedule than your current one. Like any parent, your primordial interest is to attend to the needs of your child.
However, it is still incumbent upon you to first establish that you are a qualified solo parent, that is, you fall under any of the categories mentioned under Section 3 (a) of R. A. 8972. In addition, you must warrant that the work schedule you are requesting will not affect your productivity insofar as the position you are holding and that the same will likewise not affect the productivity of the company. Please be informed that aside from the benefit of having a flexible work schedule, qualified solo parents who have already rendered service of at least one year with the same employer also enjoy Parental Leave which is not more than seven working days every year, in addition to leave privileges under existing laws (Section 8, R. A. No. 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.
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