A popular Cuba Street café was fined $2000 and stood down from issuing visas to recruit migrant labour for six months after the Labour Inspectorate found them breaching their obligations. Espressoholic was issued an infringement notice and an improvement notice by the Inspectorate for failing to keep compliant records, or correctly pay holiday pay and other entitlements.

“It’s disappointing to find a well-established business failing to get the basics of employment right, including paying for public holidays,” said Labour Inspectorate regional manager David Milne. “Every employer needs to keep wage, time, holiday and leave records to ensure they meet all minimum standards, and where these are not in place the Inspectorate can and will impose fines.”

The improvement notice gives the business until 22 February to pay correct and lawful holiday entitlements for 62 current and former employees, and provide evidence of this to the Inspectorate. As well as holiday pay the employer appeared to have failed to correctly pay for terminations or for sick and bereavement leave.

“A cheap cup of coffee shouldn’t come at the expense of your employees in the kitchen washing dishes, behind the espresso machine, or anywhere else in your business,” Milne said. “Providing your employees with all their entitlements is an important part of running a business, both in a legal sense, and for maintaining a good brand. Many more cafés will be visited by the Inspectorate this year, and in the interest of consumer choice we will be transparent about businesses we find in breach of their obligations.”

The National Consumer Survey 2016, conducted by Consumer Protection, found that knowing a business treats its workers fairly regularly affects consumers’ purchasing decisions. Forty-three percent of consumers said that knowing whether a business treats its workers fairly affects their decision on where to purchase ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’, whereas 11 per cent said that it ‘never’ affects their purchasing decisions.

Anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, should call 0800 20 90 20 where they can report their concerns in a safe environment.