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Question: "I recently took over a new department in our large organisation, which is in a building outside and a little way from the main site. The employees' contracts of employment are almost identical to those of the people on the main site including a requirement to work from 8.30am to 4.30pm Mondays to Fridays. However I found to my surprise that for the last couple of years at least they have been going home at 2.00pm on Fridays with no loss of pay. Our HR people knew nothing about this and the previous manager, from whom I took over, is deceased. Can I bring them back to a 4.30pm finish on Fridays?"
HR Tip: Two years is such a long time for this to have been happening that almost certainly it has become custom and practice and thus part of the employees’ contracts of employment. Either they have been given permission or their management has turned a blind eye to the practice. You could try to persuade them to revert to a 4.30pm finish on Fridays but I would not hold out much hope for your success. The best thing, I suggest, is to renegotiate their contracts of employment the next time you feel disposed to increase salaries. To avoid custom and practice developing, watch out for bad habits creeping in and nip them in the bud.
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