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The Tale of the Indefinite Tea Break

Karen Arnold

5 June 2024

A legendary tale and lesson in the importance of precise language in employment contracts.

Meet David, a dedicated and meticulous employee from the UK, whose attention to detail and sense of humour turned an ordinary workday into a legendary HR story.

While reviewing his new employment contract, David stumbled upon an intriguing clause buried in the fine print. The clause entitled him to a "tea break" but, crucially, did not specify the duration of this break. With a twinkle in his eye and a plan brewing, David decided to exploit this oversight in a memorable way.

Armed with his contract, David approached the HR department, pointing out the clause and highlighting the missing duration specification. The HR team, realising their oversight, attempted to correct it immediately. However, David humorously insisted that until the contract was officially amended, he was entitled to an indefinite tea break.

The Hilarious Standoff

What followed was a scene that quickly became the stuff of office legend. David set up a makeshift "tea station" at his desk, complete with an array of teas, biscuits, and even a small teapot. He began his extended tea break, much to the amusement and admiration of his colleagues, who marveled at his audacity and cleverness.

The HR department, caught in the crosshairs of David's well-played stunt, scrambled to rectify the situation. The office buzzed with laughter and chatter about David's ingenious move, turning what could have been a mundane oversight into a legendary tale of wit and contractual savvy.

The Resolution and Lesson

Eventually, the contract was amended to specify a reasonable duration for tea breaks, and David returned to his regular duties. However, his story did not fade into obscurity. Instead, it became a cherished tale, often recounted in training sessions and HR meetings as a humorous yet poignant reminder of the importance of precise language in contracts.

David’s cheeky approach not only highlighted the need for meticulous contract drafting but also provided a hearty laugh and a valuable lesson for HR professionals everywhere. His tale stands as a testament to how a keen eye for detail and a touch of humour can turn a simple oversight into a legendary office story.

Closing Thoughts

David's story serves as a humorous reminder that even the smallest oversight can lead to unexpected—and often amusing (unless you are the person who drafted the contract!)—consequences.

But on a more serious note, when drafting an employment contract, it’s essential to ensure clarity, compliance, and protection for both the employer and the employee. Further, contract templates should not be a set and forget process, particularly in the current climate with employment laws changing at an alarming rate.

At Effective Workplace Solutions, we write employment contracts daily. Get in touch with us to draft yours.

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