[Published: January 29, 2007] 

This week we are featuring an old law (it was enacted November 7, 2000 and the Implementing Rules followed after two years) that should help not only the single moms but solo parents in general.          

Yes, there is such a thing as the “Solo Parent Act”(RA 8972).  The law aims to develop a comprehensive program of services for solo parents.  Although there are no stated financial benefits it provides for extra parental leaves, educational benefits, medical and housing benefits among others.           

The benefits are not limited to single mothers or unmarried solo parents – because under the law a “Solo Parent” could be any individual who falls under any of the following categories:  

(1)  A woman who gives birth as a result of rape or 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;

The law applies to the spouses of prisoners, whether or not a final judgment has been rendered, provided they are in detention for a minimum period of 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: Provided, that he or 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: Provided, that 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 his/her 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 provided he/she is duly licensed as a foster parent by the DSWD or duly appointed legal guardian by the court;

(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: Provided, that such abandonment, disappearance, or absence lasts for at least one (1) year,

                   A change in the status or circumstance of the parent claiming benefits under the Act, such that he/she is no longer left alone with the responsibility of parenthood, shall terminate his/her eligibility for these benefits; 

            Anybody who qualifies as solo parent under the Act, may avail of some of the benefits provided by law.  These privileges however are not automatically granted.  Thus, any qualified solo parent would have to go through several processes before enjoying the benefits.          Still despite going through the process, any solo parent for sure would appreciate extra Parental Leaves.  The seven day leave shall be granted to any solo parent who has rendered service for at least one year.  This leave shall not be cumulative but the leave is on top of the leave privileges under existing laws.  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. 

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