WHO IS COVERED BY PARENTAL LEAVE? RA 8972


“Parental leave” is the leave benefit granted to a male or female solo parent to enable him/her to perform parental duties and responsibilities where physical presence is required.

The parental leave shall not be more than seven (7) working days every year to a solo parent who has rendered service of at least one (1) year, to enable him/her to perform parental duties and responsibilities where his/her physical presence is required. This leave shall be non-cumulative.

It bears noting that this leave privilege is an additional leave benefit which is separate and distinct from any other leave benefits provided under existing laws or agreements.
The term "solo parent" refers to any individual who falls 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.

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.

"Children" refer to those living with and dependent upon the solo parent for support who are unmarried, unemployed and not more than eighteen (18) years of age, or even over eighteen (18) years but are incapable of self-support because of mental and/or physical defect/disability.

"Parental responsibility" with respect to their minor children shall refer to the rights and duties of the parents as defined in Article 220 of Executive Order No. 209, as amended, otherwise known as the "Family Code of the Philippines" and hereunder enumerated as follows:

[1] To keep them in their company, to support, educate and instruct them by right precept and good example and to provide for their upbringing in keeping with their means;
[2] To give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding;
[3] To provide them with moral and spiritual guidance, inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-discipline, self-reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate their interest in civic affairs, and inspire in them compliance with the duties of citizenship;
[4] To furnish them with good and wholesome educational materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association with others, protect them from bad company, and prevent them from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;
[5] To represent them in all matters affecting their interest;
[6] To demand from them respect and obedience;
[7] To Impose discipline on them as may be required under the circumstances; and
[8] To perform such other duties as are imposed by law and upon parents and guardians.

HOW TO BE ENTITLED TO LEAVE?

A solo parent shall be entitled to parental leave provided that:

[1] He/She has rendered at least one (1) year of service whether continuous or broken at the time of the affectivity of the Act;
[2] He/She has notified his/her employer of the availment thereof within a reasonable period of time; and
[3] He/She has presented a Solo Parent Identification Card to his/her employer.

HOW TO AVAIL?

[1] Non-conversion of parental leave. - In the event that the parental leave is not availed of, said leave shall not be convertible to cash unless specifically agreed upon previously. However, if said leave were denied an employee as a result of non-compliance with the provisions of the Implementing Rules by an employer, the aforementioned leave may be used a basis for the computation of damages.

[2] Crediting of existing leave. - If there is an existing or similar benefit under a company policy, or a CBA or collective negotiation agreement, the same shall be credited as such. If the same is greater than the seven (7) days provided for in the Act, the greater benefit shall prevail. Emergency or contingency leave provided under a company policy or a collective bargaining agreement shall not be credited as compliance with the parental leave provided for under the Act and its Implementing Rules.

[3] Benefits. - Any solo parent whose income in the place of domicile falls below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area shall be eligible for assistance: Provided, however, That any solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold shall enjoy the benefits mentioned in Sections 6, 7 and 8 of R.A. No. 8972, to wit:

Section 6. Flexible Work Schedule. - The employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents: Provided, That the same shall not affect individual and company productivity: Provided, further, That any employer may request exemption from the above requirements from the DOLE on certain meritorious grounds.

Section 7. Work Discrimination. - No employer shall discriminate against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.

Section 8. 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.

[4] Other benefits under the R.A. No. 8972. - Other benefits consist of the following:
Section 9. Educational Benefits . - The DECS, CHED and TESDA shall provide the following benefits and privileges:

[a] Scholarship programs for qualified solo parents and their children in institutions of basic, tertiary and technical/skills education; and
[b] Non-formal education programs appropriate for solo parents and their children.

The DECS, CHED and TESDA shall promulgate rules and regulations for the proper implementation of this program.

Section 10. Housing Benefits . - Solo parents shall be given allocation in housing projects and shall be provided with liberal terms of payment on government low-cost housing projects in accordance with housing law provisions prioritizing applicants below the poverty line as declared by the NEDA.

Section 11. Medical Assistance. - The DOH shall develop a comprehensive health care program for solo parents and their children. The program shall be implemented by the DOH through their retained hospitals and medical centers and the local government units (LGUs) through their provincial/district/city/ municipal hospitals and rural health units (RHUs) .

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