• Solo parent has right to flexible work schedule that does not affect company productivity

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I have a small business. Currently, I am having difficulty with one of my employees. She comes to work late and she is always using the reason that she is a solo parent. I usually do not mind if my employees come to work late as long as there is no urgent work that needs to be finished. In her case, we incur a lot of pending/back log jobs because most of the times, she comes in when half of the entire working hours is already finished. Is there anything I can do or say to her? Can you also enlighten me who “solo parents” are? I am not even sure if she qualifies for the benefit she is insisting. I just let her get away with it a couple of times because I do not want to have any problem in my business.
    Sophie546

    Dear Sophie546,
    In order for an employee to qualify for the benefits provided for under Republic Act (RA) No. 8972, otherwise known as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, he or she must fall under any of the following categories: “(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” (Section 3 (a), RA No. 8972).

    If the employee you are referring to falls squarely under any of the abovementioned categories, you are constrained to grant her, among others, the benefit of flexible work schedule. However, she may not sacrifice the productivity of your business. You may thus set her work schedule so as to give her a leeway to attend to her responsibilities as a solo parent but still have sufficient time to meet the demands of her work. While R. A. No. 8972 recognizes the right of a solo parent to be granted a flexible work schedule, such should not affect individual and company productivity (Section 6, RA No. 8972). In fact, flexible work schedule is defined under Section 3 (e), of the said law, 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.” (emphasis supplied)

    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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