Friday, September 08, 2006

A primer on RA 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000

Update as of August 13, 2010:

Senator Loren Legarda filed SB No. 1439 entitled Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2010. The bill seeks to amend RA 8972 and to provide the following support and benefits for solo parents:

1. Ten percent discount from all purchases of clothing and clothing materials for the child from birth up to two years;

2. Fifteen discount from all purchases of baby’s milk, food and food supplements;

3. Fifteen percent discount from all purchases of medicines and other medical supplements/supplies for the child; and

4. Basic personal exemption from individual income tax.

Last March 19, I gave a 3-hour legal seminar for the single parents group of a PCEC-affiliated church in Quezon City. Known as the Single Parents For Christ (SPARC), the group is composed of some 20 to 30 women who are single parents for various reasons - widowhood, separation from their husbands, grandparents left to take care of grandkids as the parents are working abroad, etc.

We had a fruitful afternoon discussing the essential provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines, RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004, and RA 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000. If you’d like to know more about this group of dear ladies, please surf to their website http://pcecsparc.multiply.com.

While browsing at the new OMF Lit bookstore in Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, I saw a book entitled, if I remember correctly, “On Single Parenting” published by Zondervan, priced at around two hundred eighty pesos. Once I get a copy of the book, I will do a review on it in my Salt and Light weblog. (You might also be interested in the video “Si Nanay Ay Si Tatay” available at House of Praise outlets.) Anyway, for now, I have below a primer on our country’s solo parents’ law.

What is our country’s law for single parents?

Republic Act No. 8972 or the “Solo Parents' Welfare Act of 2000” is the Philippine law on single parents. It was promulgated on November 7, 2000.

What is the policy of the State regarding solo parents?

It is the policy of the State to promote the family as the foundation of the nation, strengthen its solidarity and ensure its total development. Towards this end, it will develop a comprehensive program of services for solo parents and their children to be carried out by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and other related government and non-government agencies. (Sec.2, RA 8972)

Who is considered under the law as a “solo parent”?

Any individual who falls under any of the following categories is considered as a single parent:
[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 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 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 or 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 year;

[8] Unmarried mother or father who has preferred to keep and rear the child or 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.

Who are considered as “children” under RA 8972?

The term “children” refers to those living with and dependent upon the solo parent for support who are unmarried, unemployed and not more than eighteen years of age, or even over eighteen years but are incapable of self-support because of mental or physical disability.

What is “parental responsibility”?

The term “parental responsibility” with respect to their minor children refers to the rights and duties of the parents as defined in Article 220 of the Family Code of the Philippines.”

What are the criteria for support under RA 8972?
[1] 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 is eligible for assistance;

[2] That any solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold can enjoy the benefits mentioned in Sections 6, 7 and 8 of RA 8972.
What are government agencies required to provide under RA 8972?

A comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families will be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.

The DSWD must coordinate with concerned agencies the implementation of the comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families.

What are included in this package of services for single parents?

The package of services will initially include:
(a) Livelihood development services which include trainings on livelihood skills, basic business management, value orientation and the provision of seed capital or job placement.

(b) Counseling services which include individual, peer group or family counseling. This will focus on the resolution of personal relationship and role conflicts.

(c) Parent effectiveness services which include the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of the solo parent on early childhood development, behavior management, health care, rights and duties of parents and children.

(d) Critical incidence stress debriefing which includes preventive stress management strategy designed to assist solo parents in coping with crisis situations and cases of abuse.

(e) Special projects for individuals in need of protection which include temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.
What is “flexible work schedule”?

It is the right granted to a solo parent employee to vary arrival and departure time without affecting the core work hours as defined by the employer. Under Section 6 of RA 8972, the employer must provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents: But the flexible work schedule should not affect individual and company productivity: Provided, further, That any employer may request exemption from the above requirements from the DOLE on meritorious grounds.

What about the issue of work discrimination, in terms of job assignments or promotion?

Section 7 of RA 8972 provides that employers must not discriminate against solo parents with respect to terms and conditions of their employment.

What is the so-called single parent leave?

Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8972 states that “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.” Please take note of the phrase “in addition to leave privileges under existing laws.”

What if there are already benefits under company policies or provisions of the CBA? Can the parental leave still be availed of?

The
Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8972 (take note specially of Section 21) state:
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 effectivity 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.

Section 20. 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 these Rules by an employer, the aforementioned leave may be used a basis for the computation of damages.

Section 21. Crediting of Existing Leave – If there is an existing or similar benefit under a company policy, or a collective bargaining agreement 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.
If the company already gives leave benefits or there are applicable provisions in the CBA, the question that should be resolved is: Are the benefits similar to or greater than the parental leave under RA 8972? If not, then such benefits under company policies or CBA provisions cannot be credited under Section 21.

Companies, in seeking ways to save on costs and expenses, sometimes refuse to grant the solo parent leave. They claim that that there are existing or benefits similar to the solo parent leave under company policies. If you are a solo parent working for a company that refuses to grant the solo parent leave by claiming that Section 21 of the IRR applies, then you should seek the help of the Public Assistance and Complaints Unit of the DOLE. The PACU will help you file a complaint and then call you and your employer to a mediation/conciliation conference. If nothing comes out of the conciliation, the PACU will endorse your complaint to the National Labor Relations Commission.

A common problem of single parents is providing educational opportunities for their children. Does RA 8972 have provision on this issue?

The DECS, CHED and TESDA are mandated to provide the following benefits and privileges:
(1) Scholarship programs for qualified solo parents and their children in institutions of basic, tertiary and technical/skills education; and

(2) Nonformal education programs appropriate for solo parents and their children.
Another problem of single parents is housing. What benefits if any are provided under RA 8972?

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

What about 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).

How do I avail of the benefits under RA 8972?

You can communicate with the DSWD office of your town or city as to the requirements.

Postscript: As you can see from the above, the package of benefits for single parents is quite slim. Perhaps, our enlightened legislators will see the need to increase the assistance to single parents. One idea the SPARC ladies came up with is the “Single Parents ID” just like that of the senior citizens, with all of the corresponding benefits.

34 comments :

Anonymous said...

Please also visit our Discussion Board:

http://pcecsparc.proboards103.com/

If you are a single parent or someone who can provide advise and inspirint stories for the benefit of other single parents, please register and post in our Discussion Boards.

We also have a board for Legal Matters concerning Single Parents

Anonymous said...

hi sir! question naman po...im going through annulment na. waiting for decision na lng. here's the situation, pano po kung i got a kid outside marriage. that's before i got married to my estranged husband. so meaning he got a different father who abandon us before i gave birth to my son. my soon to be ex husband didnt adopt him. so can i be considered as one solo parent then?

Anonymous said...

I am an unmarried solo parent to 2 minors . I would like to comment that the tax exemption that i am entitled to is very minimal and unreasonable; I just hope our lawmakers will be sensitive and considerate enough to give a higher ( if not full) tax exemption and lower the taxes being imposed and deducted from my salary. I know that there are a lot of working moms like me who find the tax system in our country very discriminating; I think solo parents should not just be entitled to the exemption being enjoyed by heads of the family; we should be given higher tax exemptions since we are just alone /solo in upbringing kids , but with all the responsiblities of a father and a mother .

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I would just like to ask if Republic Act 8972 is practiced by all employers? I heard from a friend of mine that they are practicing this in their office. Whilst when I asked our HR Manager about this, she said that quote: "we are aware of this but not really practicing it...I attended a seminar on this wayback but they(meaning the management) didn't approve." Is this possible? Does this still require approval from the employer to be practiced? Since I did not see that in the provision as per RA 8972. Isn't this automatic since there's a law covering it? On my part, as a single parent, I feel that this is unfair since I am entitled for the benefits as mandated by law. Kindly advise so I can assert this to our HR.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

RA 8972 is a law which your employer cannot refuse to obey. You can assert your rights especially with the solo parent leave. In terms of the flexible work schedule, the law allows the employer to seek an exemption from the DOLE under meritorious grounds.

You can ask for help from the PACU (Public Assistance and Complaints Unit) of the Department of Labor and Employment. In Metro Manila, the PACU is at the DOLE office in Intramuros, between Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and the Bulletin. I do not know if the number is current try tel. no. 527-8000.

Anonymous said...

Good Evening!

How can i avail the flexible working time under this Act? Are there any documentary requirements to show to my employer/

Thank you very much,

Doy D.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Doy D.

Section 6 of this law states:

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

You have to request your employer to work out a flexible work schedule for you. If there’s any conflict between you and your employer on this issue, you can ask the PACU (Public Assistance and Complaints Unit) of the DOLE to help mediate this conflict.

Anonymous said...

we, in the task force for solo pa rents is conducting an information campaign on the Act. Our city council has approved an ordinance directing all barangay officials to conduct mass registration of solo parents so as I.D. be provided by our local dswd/ssdd. we hope this would be the start of developing programs for solo parents in quezon city. sana naman i-adapt ng ibang local government ang batas na ito. Solo parents are increasing.

Anonymous said...

Hi!

I just want to know if there is a law wherein I can ask for financial support to the father of my child thou we are not married? Thanks a lot!


Lesly A.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Lesly A.

Please read my post “Support for abandoned woman and family” (look for the link in the sidebar). Please read also the comments and my replies to the comments.

A petition for Protection Order for financial support under RA 9262 applies even if you are not married to the guy.

Anonymous said...

thank you attorney. follow up ln po, ang sinabi po kc sa akin ng nag inquire ako about that is kailangan daw po na na-acknowledge ng father sa birth certificate un baby q is that true? Kasi nghiwalay na kmi before ako manganak kaya ang last name ng baby ko is same with me and wla ang name ng father nya dun sa birthcertificate. If kylngan pa sya nkalagay sa birthcert. ibig sabihin i cant file for financial support? and wala na ko pwede pang magawa about that?
thanks a lot and god bless

Lesly A.

ket said...

hi! if my baby's father and i were not married but are living together, can i still be classified as solo parent? thanks!

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Please take note of how the law defines “solo parent”. If you and the man are living together, then you cannot qualify as a solo parent.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Lesly A.

You should file against the father a petition for compulsory recognition of your child together with a request for the court to order the man to undergo DNA testing. If the DNA test establishes that the man is your child’s father, then he can be compelled by the court to provide support.

Anonymous said...

what if the employer has not complied with the "solo parent act" from year 2000? it was only last 2008 that they acknowledge the law. only when i was informed by a friend and availed my parental leave with the company. worst, because of their non-compliance and ignorance of the law, my leaves were treated at first as absence without permission without pay. what is the penalty for companies that do not comply? making myself as an example, i became a solo parent in july 2002. because we were not aware of the law that provides for solo parents and my company never informed us about it, we were not able to enjoy the benefits of the law esp. the parental leaves. is there no penalty or sanctions to employers for non-compliance? from 2008 i was not given any copy of their guidelines even if i keep on asking them thru letters for a copy. where can i call or write for some inquiries re: solo parent act? thank you and more power.

marisse said...

I just had my solo parent ID last October but have been a solo parent for my kids for 14 years now... I dont have any idea about it until the time that i attended a seminar on gender sensitivity and our speaker discussed about it, so i finally got one... now, I just want to have a clarification... I am working in a goverment agency... and we usually have our performance appraisal every semester and one of the basis for rating is the attendance and punctuality... to cut it short I availed of my parental leave on 3 separate dates knowing all the while that it was a priviledge leave and it will be excused... When I saw my rating today I was surprised that they rate rate me 8 on my attendance wherein my only absent is that 3 parental leave... please enlighten me on this... I just thought that the 7 parental leave is in addition to the priviledge leave that we enjoyed every year...

thank u so much...

marissa e. manalang

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Marissa,

Section 8 of the law expressly provides that the parental leave is “in addition to leave privileges under existing laws”.

However, Section 21 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations state that:

Section 21. Crediting of Existing Leave – If there is an existing or similar benefit under a company policy, or a collective bargaining agreement 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 these Rules.


Simply put, you will have to verify whether the parental leave under this law has been considered as being equivalent to an existing or similar benefit according to Section 21 of the IRR.

You can inquire with the DSWD since it is the lead agency in the implementation of this law. You can also inquire with the Civil Service Commission.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

[1] Section 8 of the law expressly provides that the parental leave is “in addition to leave privileges under existing laws”.

[2] RA 8972 does not provide for penal sanctions against employers which do not comply. However, you have the option of filing civil cases for damages under Article 21 of the New Civil Code.

Section 20 of the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations of Ra 8972) provides:

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 these Rules by an employer, the aforementioned leave may be used a basis for the computation of damages.

[3] You can inquire with the Department of Labor and Employment through the PACU (Public Assistance and Complaints Unit). In Manila, the PACU is in the DOLE office in Intramuros (between PLM and the Bulletin). Try the phone number 527-8000.

You can also inquire with the DSWD since it is the lead agency in the implementation of this law.

ahnn said...

I’m a single mom at ang nakabuntis sa akin ay married guy. He at first deny his obligation when I was pregnant and even after giving birth until one day he decided to see the baby and now po kinikilala niya na etong anak.
My baby is using my last name and his dad did not sign the birth certificate.
Si guy ay legally married and still living with his wife. I’m asking for sustento but he would always say na wala siyang pera. Takot naman ako pwersahin siya dahil baka kasuhan ako ng wife niya sa pakikipag-apid sa husband niya.
Now po pano ko siya maoobligang magbigay ng sustento para sa anak namin?
Si lalaki po ay nagtanong na rin sa H.R nila kung pwedi niya idagdag sa beneficiary niya ang anak namin but the company deny his request kasi daw illegitimate eto.. pwedi po ba siya maghabol sa company?

Your advice will surely enlighten me, I have all this question for a year and cant find the answer.
Thank you in advance

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Ahnn,

Please avoid multiple posting. This makes things difficult for me.

[1] In terms of support, please read my post “Support for abandoned woman and child” (look for the link in the sidebar). The Family Code does not provide for a specific percentage. You will have to prove what the needs are, and the man is allowed to prove what his financial capability is.

You can file a petition for compulsory recognition of your child as his illegitimate child coupled with a request for the issuance of a Protection Order for financial support. In the petition for compulsory recognition, you will ask the court to require the man and your daughter to undergo DNA testing. Please read my “DNA testing to prove legitimacy or illegitimacy of children; Supreme Court’s New Rule on DNA Evidence”. You will have to shoulder the costs for the DNA tests. If it is proven that indeed the man is the father, you can ask for reimbursement for whatever you have spent.

[2] As you have read, you cannot be charged with “adultery” since you are the other woman. The appropriate charge is “concubinage” but in this kind of case, the wife has to file the case against you AND her husband. As you have read, concubinage is committed in very specific ways. If your sexual relationship with this man did not fall under any of these ways, then there would be a problem in filing a concubinage case. (Please consult other lawyers who may have opinions different from mine or who may be able to suggest alternative courses of actions.)

[3] In the sidebar, I listed down the names and contact information of government agencies and offices (NBI, PNP, DSWD, etc) from which you can ask for help. Contact these offices.

bluerose728 said...

Good day.

I have a 20-year old child who is still in school - unmarried and unemployed. I solely provide parental care and support for her. Can i still avail of the Solo Parent given she's over 18?

Thank you.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

bluerose728,

RA 8972 defines “children” as 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.

Since your daughter is above 18 and not suffering from any mental/physical disability, you cannot avail of the benefits of this law.

Anonymous said...

Dear Atty. Gerry,
my company gives us 15 paid Vacation Leave days per year, and 8 paid Sick Days which we can use only if we are sick.
I am a qualified single mother - they said I cant get another 7 paid days under RA 8972 because the company gives leaves and are more than the 7 days already. Is this true? Or should I be able to get 7 more paid vacation/leave days in addition to the 23 days they already allow for me.

Tnx

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

I have partially answered your question in my replies to the previous inquiries.

The solo parent leave is in ADDITION to other leave privileges.

Please ask the help of the PACU. The contact information is also found above.

mari said...

Hi Atty. Gerry,

I would like ask how can I avail of the educaional benefits (college) for my daugther. She is now in her 2nd sem, 1st year college.

Thank you Sir.

Anonymous said...

Atty Gerry,

I would like to ask about the expiration of the single parent ID. I filed a single parent leave last feb 12, 2010 and filed it ahead of that date, when i noticed today that my ID was already expired , our HRD validated that the filed leave was not valid. Im a candidate for our perfect attendance but our HRD had pulled me out of the latter. Is it valid that they've executed that kind of decision while i'm considered single parent even if my ID is already expired?

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

I already answered your e-mail.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Mari,

Please coordinate with the Social Welfare and Development office of your town or city.

Anonymous said...

Dear Atty. Jerry,

I am new with this site. I have inquiry about marriage.Please help me, i am separated to my husband about 11 years ago.before that we married under mayors office only.and no sign by my mother and father.We had an agreement from atty. that we are separated already.my question is would this be a considered as annulment paper? i have a new live-in partner and we already have a 2 kids, can we get married?

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

“We had an agreement from atty. that we are separated already.my question is would this be a considered as annulment paper? i have a new live-in partner and we already have a 2 kids, can we get married?”

This kind of agreement is illegal and immoral. The lawyer who prepared that agreement can be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law. Please read my post “Can a husband and wife in a notarized document declare that they are free to marry other persons and they will not file charges against each other?” (look for the link in the sidebar).

If you get married to your live-in partner, you can be charged with bigamy (it is a public crime which means that anyone who knows the facts can file the case against you).

Even if your marriage is void, you cannot take the law into your own hands and declare by yourself that your marriage is void. Under Article 40 of the Family Code you are required to file a petition to have your marriage declared as void.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I just want to ask if pag napirmahan ba ng dad ng anak ko birth cert nya and he signed a waiver that he is revoking all his rights sa bata wala na sya magiging habol sa anak ko? meaning i wont be needing any of his consent kung san ko man dalhin ang anak ko?
Need your advise on this issue kasi im still thinking if i should let my son use his dad's lastname or magiging complicated pa pag pinagamit ko un sa kanya

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

Please read my posts “What surname should illegitimate children use? Problems and issues with RA 9255 and its implementing guidelines” and “Visitation rights over illegitimate children” (please read also the comments and my replies to the comments).

Please take note that under Article 176 of the Family Code, your son will remain illegitimate even if he is using the father’s surname in the birth certificate. You as the mother have sole parental authority over your son. This means that custody and all decisions over your son belong to you.

One advantage of your son using his father's surname is that it will be easy for your son to claim his right to inherit under Article 176.

Anonymous said...

hi atty
i would like to ask if a solo grandmother(a govt. nurse) could avail the solo parent welfare act?the mother of the children, her daughter is working abroad & constantly send financial support.her daughter is separated from her husband but not legally.

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

I already answered your e-mail.