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Magnetic chemically peculiar (mCP) stars constitute about 10% of upper-main-sequence stars and are characterized by strong magnetic fields and abnormal photospheric abundances of some chemical elements. Most of them exhibit strictly periodic light, magnetic, radio, and spectral variations that can be fully explained by a rigidly rotating main-sequence star with persistent surface structures and a stable global magnetic field. Long-term observations of the phase curves of these variations enable us to investigate possible surface differential rotation with unprecedented accuracy and reliability. The analysis of the phase curves in the best-observed mCP stars indicates that the location and the contrast of photometric and spectroscopic spots as well as the geometry of the magnetic field remain constant for at least many decades. The strict periodicity of mCP variables supports the concept that the outer layers of upper-main-sequence stars do not rotate differentially. However, there is a small, inhomogeneous group consisting of a few mCP stars whose rotation periods vary on timescales of decades. The period oscillations may reflect real changes in the angular velocity of outer layers of the stars which are anchored by their global magnetic fields. In CU Vir, V901 Ori, and perhaps BS Cir, the rotational period variation indicates the presence of vertical differential rotation; however, its exact nature has remained elusive until now. The incidence of mCP stars with variable rotational periods is currently investigated using a sample of fifty newly identified Kepler mCP stars.