Espresso Warriors.

The penalty comes in response to the franchisee failing to comply with a Compliance Notice from May 2022 requiring it to back-pay entitlements to a worker.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court imposed the penalty against HML Holdings Pty Ltd which were the former franchisee of the Espresso Warriors cafe in New South Wales’ Southern Highlands.

Fair Work investigated the business after a request from the affected worker.

The worker, a Nepalese man and visa holder at the time, was a full-time chef at the venue between June 2020 and February 2022.

The Fair Work inspector found the franchisee breached the Fair Work Act’s National Employment Standards by not paying the worker accrued but untaken annual leave entitlements at the end of his employment.

In court, HML Holdings Pty Ltd has been penalised $20,000 to cover the entitlements along with interest to the worker.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Kristen Hannah warns business operators that failing to act on compliance notices will result in penalties along with back-pay to workers.

“When compliance notices are not followed, we are prepared to take legal action to ensure workers receive their lawful entitlements,” Ms Hannah said.

“Employers also need to be aware that taking action to improve compliance in the fast food, restaurant and café sector and protecting vulnerable workers like visa holders are enduring priorities for the FWO. Visa holders have the same workplace rights as any other employee.”

The cafe is no longer operating and closed in 2022.