• The perks of being a solo parent

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,

    Good day! I hope you can answer my queries. Both my parents are already dead, and I was left with the responsibility of taking care of my siblings. Thank–fully, my aunts helped us, and I was able to finish college. I am now working at a re–putable company in Makati. However, my aunts told me that they can no longer support my siblings, and that I had to do that by myself. I overheard that I could be considered as a single parent. I was surprised, because I thought that single parents were just unmarried parents who were left to take care of their children alone. Is it true that I am a single parent? Do single parents have privileges as well? Thank you!

    Sincerely,

    Tess

    Dear Tess,

    The Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 expands the definition of solo parents to include not only parents who are left alone by their spouse or other parent to take care of their children but also persons who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children (Section 3(a)(9)) and any family member who assumes the responsibility of a head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disap–pearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent (Sec. 3(a)(10)). Clearly, as your parents have died and you have taken the responsibility of the head of the family, you are considered as a solo parent under the law.

    As a solo parent, you are granted the privilege of a flexible work schedule, the right against work discrimination, and the right to parental leave. According to Section 6 of the said law, the employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents as long as the said schedule will not affect individual and company pro–ductivity. The company may seek exemption from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) from providing a flexible work–ing schedule to solo parents on meritorious grounds. Section 7 of the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act states that an employer shall not dis–criminate against solo parent employees with respect to terms and conditions of employment due to his or her status. Lastly, Section 8 of this law also provides an additional seven working days’ parental leave to any solo parent employee who has rendered service for at least one year.

    If your income falls below the poverty threshold set by the National Economic Development Authority and subject to the assessment of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), you may avail of assis–tance. Under the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act, the DOLE, the DSWD, the Department of Health, the former Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now De–partment of Education), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the National Housing Authority and the Department of the Interior and Local Government in coordination with local government units and non-governmental organizations must develop a comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families. Assistance may come in the form of housing benefits and medical assistance. To avail of the solo parent pri–vileges, you must apply for a Solo Parent Identification Card from the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office where you live.

    We hope that we have answered your queries. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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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