Thousands of current and former Woolworths employees could be entitled to backpay, after the supermarket giant admitted it underpaid 5,700 staff by up to $300 million.

In a statement to the ASX this morning, Woolies said it discovered the error after implementing a new Enterprise Agreement in its supermarkets and Metro stores.

A review found an “inconsistency in pay” for a number of salaried employees compared to those being paid under the EA, with both number of hours worked and when those hours were worked not being adequately factored in to individual salaries.

Woolies estimated the underpayment could be anywhere from $200 million to $300 million, given the issue could date back to 2010 when the award was implemented.

So far, it’s only reviewed data from September 2017 to August 2019. Woolies said it will begin making payments to these employees, including with interest and super contributions, “as soon as possible”, with affected staff members to receive interim payments before Christmas.

“We unreservedly apologise,” Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said.

“The highest priority for Woolworths Group right now is to address the issue, and to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Image: AAP