The Solo Parent’s Welfare Act: Can It Help You?
Parenting comes with a unique set of challenges when one parent has to fill the role of both mom and dad. As an old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”. This is most true for single parents who need all the help they can get. Julie is a widow with a 9-year old child. “When my child is sick, I stay home and make sure I feed him and give his medicines. More so if he’s hospitalized, I really don’t go to work. I want him to know I’m there for him in every way. But it’s hard to take these urgent leaves when my work schedule is not flexible,” she says.
Employed solo parents can take advantage of Republic Act 8972 or the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act. By virtue of this law, a Solo Parent ID holder can avail of the following benefits:
- A flexible work schedule – A solo parent can request for varied work times that will allow her to spend more time with her children, so long as it doesn’t affect individual and company productivity. If work schedule is 9am to 5pm, a solo parent can negotiate with his or her employer to come in at 7am and leave at 3pm.
- Guarantee against work discrimination—The law says, “You cannot be discriminated against in the work place just because of your parental status”.
- Additional leave credits—This entitles you to 7 additional leaves on top of what the government mandates, so long as you’ve been employed for more than a year. If Mommy Julie had a Solo Parent’s ID, she can take additional leaves for sick days or when she needs to attend to her son’s activities.
Need one? Get one.
Janet is a single mom of three. Recently, she applied for her Solo Parent ID. “I made sure to complete all requirements. When I got to the Municipal Hall, I was directed to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office. I was told that there might be some background check to make sure I don’t have a present partner. But everything went smoothly. I submitted my requirements, had my photo taken at the Municipal Hall for the ID, and that was it. I was told that my ID would be ready within thirty days. So far no one has come to my house to check on my relationship status,” she shares.
The process of application is fairly fast once all your documents are in order. And the applicant can enjoy the benefits as soon as the ID is released. Some might say that the benefits are mostly for employed single parents. But depending on your income bracket, RA 8972 may entitle the parent to educational benefits, housing benefits, and medical assistance.
Below are the Government’s definition of a solo parent:
- 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 mother keeps and raises the child.
- Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the following circumstances
- Due to death of spouse.
- Spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year.
- Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner.
- 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.
- 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.
3. 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.
4. Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children.
And here are the list of requirements the solo parent applicant needs to bring to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office:
- Barangay certification certifying Solo Parent’s residency in the barangay for the last six months
- Certificates e.g., birth certificates of children, death certificate of spouse and other appropriate documentary support. You may order these online at the NSO website.
- Income tax return or any document that will establish the income level of the solo parent,
If you or someone you know is a solo parent, you may want to put some thought into a Solo Parent’s ID. There are current bills filed in the House of Representative proposing further amendments to this law. Discounts to milk, food, medicine, hospitalization, laboratory testing, and even school supplies are being suggested.
Think of applying for an ID as making your solo-parent-voice heard. A sizeable number of applications can give our government insight on the need for further amendments that can surely help the single parent journey.