London-listed mining giant BHP has admitted it underpaid nearly 30,000 workers across Australia after miscalculating public holiday leave for 13 years.
The Australian group, which is listed in Sydney and London, said it it was facing a hit of up to $280m (£225.5m) for the error, which dates back to 2010.
It said about 28,500 current and former Australian employees were affected, with an average of six days’ leave each that have been incorrectly deducted on public holidays.
Geraldine Slattery, president of BHP’s Australian business, said: “We are sorry to all current and former employees impacted by these errors.
“This is not good enough and falls short of the standards we expect at BHP.
“We are working to rectify and remediate these issues, with interest, as quickly as possible.”
In a further blow, the group added that initial investigations into the payroll of Oz Minerals suggest a similar leave issue may have happened before it was acquired by BHP in May.
And about 400 current and former BHP employees at Port Hedland in Western Australia were also not paid additional allowances due to an error with the employment entity in their contract.
Its probe into the issue is ongoing and BHP will report a further update in its full year results in August.
The firm has also hired global assurance firm Protiviti to carry out a review of its group-wide payroll systems.
Holly Williams, Press Association