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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Early finish for Friday workers
People enjoy the sunshine in a park
Staff can achieve a better balance between work and life
Staff at an international pharmaceutical firm are being encouraged to go home early on Fridays.

From 1 June the 3,000 employees at Pfizer's UK base in Sandwich, Kent, will be able to leave at noon on a Friday if their work is completed.

In return, workers will have to make up their contracted hours over the other days of the week.

The firm is one of several American companies, including McDonald's and Microsoft, to allow its UK office staff to work "summer hours" between June and the August bank holiday.

Beat the traffic

The aim is to give employees longer weekends during the summer months and enable them to beat the heavy traffic of the Friday getaway.

A Pfizer spokesman said the company was keen for staff to maintain a better balance between their work and home lives.

The firm, which claims to be the world's second biggest company after Microsoft, is best known as the maker of Viagra.

The summer hours scheme, which was first introduced in New York, has proved popular in the US over several years.

It follows other US initiatives such as 'dress-down Friday', which spread swiftly across the Atlantic after it was introduced in America in the late 1980s.

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