A Wagga retail business is back-paying more than 100 staff a total of almost $90,000 after an investigation by the Federal Workplace Ombudsman found it was underpaying the workers.

Workplace inspectors audited the business last year after two workers complained they had been underpaid.

Inspectors discovered the business had underpaid 103 employees a total of $87,500 as a result of underpayment of the minimum hourly rate, weekend penalty rates, annual leave loading and other payments.

The underpayments occurred from 2006 to 2008 and the underpaid workers ranged in age from 16 to 47 and included many junior workers (under the age of 21).

The underpaid employees had been working for the business for up to three years. The biggest underpayment of a single worker was $5566.

State director Ross Drysdale said the business voluntarily agreed to back-pay the workers the money owed when inspectors brought the matter to its attention, so there will be no further action against the company.

“We accept that the underpayments were caused by administrative errors and the company is now back-paying the workers in regular instalments, with more than $30,000 reimbursed so far,” he said.

“We welcome this employer’s positive response to our findings.”

Drysdale said all employers should be aware that the Workplace Ombudsman takes underpayments of workers very seriously and if the Agency proceeds to court, penalties of up to $33,000 can be imposed for each breach of workplace laws.