From lawmakers to the DOLE, discussions and issuances clearly show lack or little understanding on management prerogative.
Management prerogative is the general rule. Labor laws and regulations are the exception.
Even the Supreme Court acknowledges that management prerogative is an INHERENT RIGHT of the employers. No law is needed to grant that right. In fact, there is no such law expressly granting management prerogative because one is not needed. That is the meaning of an inherent right. It has always been there.
If we trace the history of management prerogative, it goes way back to the age of masters and slaves (in the Philippines: amo at alipin), then to vassals and peasants, then to employers and employees. It has always been there. It evolved with the times from abolishment of slavery to the passing of the age of kings.
Now, management prerogative is an inherent right of and integral to being an employer.
In several labor cases, the Supreme Court has consistenly instructed that the employers should be given as much lattitude to exercise their management prerogative due to the difficulties and challenges in running a business. That is why, management prerogative has been defined as the right to regulate all aspects (again: all aspects) of employment. To which, not even the courts should interfere – this is known as the business judgment rule.
Recognizing the extent of the power of management prerogative, the Supreme Court placed two general limitations: (a) that management prerogative should be exercised in good faith, and (b) and it should be with due regard to the rights of the employees.
Those two limitations, particularly on employee rights, are what constitute labor laws and regulations.
The intent and purpose of labor laws and regulations are to regulate management prerogative. Thus, if there are no applicable labor laws or regulations, it is management prerogative that shall govern.
That is the essence of the statement: Management prerogative is the general rule and labor laws or regulations the exception.
In the time of Covid-19, when businesses are experiencing serious financial losses, and considering these enterprises are what provides and maintains jobs when many are losing their employment, management prerogative should be given the respect and value it deserves.