I work in the banking industry, and as a regular employee am entitled to 15 days of vacation leave, 15 days of sick leave, and 6 emergency leaves. This is far more than the law requires, I am told, thus our company refuses to grant me parental leave which, I know, I can avail of with my solo parent ID. My question is, is the 7-day parental leave a separate benefit, on top of the leave credits we already have? These leave credits are under our CBA, and all regular employees are entitled to them, regardless of their status.
Hello Mommy Eunice! Thanks for asking that question to clear up the confusion. Under the Solo Parent Act, or Republic Act No. 8972, all that is stated is: “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.” Based on this provision, it is very clear that the additional seven-day leave for single parents shall be given on top of any leave benefit already existing under the laws.
But what if, as in your case, the CBA or the employment contract already provides for leave benefits more than that given in existing laws?
In the implementing rules and regulation for RA 8972, the provision on parental leave for single parents is discussed more extensively:
“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 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.”
Based on the implementing rules, we can now see that to be credited under this law, the leave has to be for a similar purpose, and with the same or greater period of leave benefit. In other words, the leave under the CBA or the company policy should also be for single parents alone, and must be for seven days or longer. In your case, because the leave benefits are not exclusively for single parents - even if they are more than what is normally required for employees - then these should not be considered as parental leave. Even if you have a lot of emergency or sick leaves, these are still not considered to be the parental leave for single parents contemplated under the law.
Speak to your company’s management or HR Department again and explain to them that the single parents in your company are still entitled to the additional seven day leave under the Solo Parents Act, on top of the existing leave benefits in the CBA. If they refuse to implement it, then you can seek assistance from the Public Assistance and Complaints Unit (PACU) of the DOLE. The PACU will help you file a complaint and/or call you and your employer to a mediation/conciliation conference so that you can come to an agreement. If your employer still does not follow the law, the PACU will endorse your complaint to the National Labor Relations Commission.
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Atty. Nikki Jimeno
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