Bill gives solo parents double unemployment insurance protection

Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo has filed a bill seeking to double the unemployment insurance benefits of solo parents if they get displaced from their jobs.

“Single parents, being the only breadwinner in the household, are exceptionally vulnerable to economic hardship. They deserve greater financial support if they lose their jobs for reasons unrelated to their performance as employees,” Rillo said.

Under Rillo’s House Bill 2229, solo parents who are laid off would be entitled to an involuntary separation payment equal to 100 percent of their average monthly salary credit (AMSC) for two months.

“Thus, once our bill is enacted, a solo parent with an AMSC of P20,000 will receive an unemployment insurance benefit of P40,000, instead of only P20,000 as currently provided by law,” Rillo said.

“We have to assure solo parents ample financial protection when they get thrown out of work. This way, while they are looking for new employment, their families will have the means to make ends meet,” Rillo said.

Rillo’s bill seeks to amend the Social Security System (SSS) charter, or Republic Act No. 11199.

At present, under the law, laid off and qualified employees covered by the SSS, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), are entitled to a job loss or involuntary separation payment equal to 50 percent of their average AMSC for two months.

Involuntarily separation means job loss due to closure or cessation of operation of a business; retrenchment or downsizing; redundancy; installation of labor-saving devices; or disease/illness of the employee whose continued service is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or her co-workers’ health.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the SSS paid over P1.71 billion in unemployment insurance benefits to 135,814 qualified members whose jobs were destroyed.

Solo parents now comprise over 13 percent of the 109 million national population.

There are up to 15 million solo parents in the country, with 95 percent of them women, according to a World Health Organization-funded study by the University of the Philippines’ National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health.

“Solo parent” as defined by existing law refers to:

-An unmarried mother or father solely raising a child or children;

-A parent solely bringing up a child or children due to the death, incarceration, or physical or mental incapacity of the spouse;

-A parent solely rearing a child or children due to abandonment by the spouse, legal or de facto separation from the spouse, or declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage;

-A legal guardian, adoptive or foster parent solely taking care of a child or children;

-Under certain circumstances, the spouse, family member, or guardian solely looking after an OFW’s child or children;

-Any relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity of the parent or legal guardian solely caring for a child or children due to the disappearance or absence of the parent or legal guardian; or

-A pregnant woman solely nurturing her unborn child.