My wife left me and our children to live with another man. She left two years ago, leaving our two children under my care. Can I be considered a solo parent? I have been employed for three months, am I qualified to avail of a parental leave?
Under Republic Act 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, you, being separated from your wife for two years and the custodian of your children, are considered a solo parent. Section 3 of the said law provides:
“Section 3. Definition of Terms.—Whenever used in this Act, the following terms shall mean as follows:
(a) “Solo parent”—any individual who falls under any of the following categories:
(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;
A change in the status or circumstance of the parent claiming benefits under this Act, such that he/she is no longer left alone with the responsibility of parenthood, shall terminate his/her eligibility for these benefits.”
Clearly, you are a solo parent under the said law. Thus, you are entitled to the privileges and benefits afforded to solo parents after meeting the requirements set thereof. However, you are not yet qualified to avail of a parental leave simply because you have not yet satisfied the qualification set by the law. You have to have at least worked for one year for you to be entitled to this leave privilege. This is one of the conditions explicitly provided under Section 18, Article V of the Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act 8972 for a solo parent
“Section 18. 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. The seven-day parental leave shall be non-cumulative.
“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.”
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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