Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, has agreed to pay up to $640 million to settle dozens of lawsuits claiming the retailer cheated hourly workers out of pay.

The newly settled claims involve 63 state and federal class-action lawsuits that represent thousands of current and former workers across the United States.

The lawsuits claim the discount retailer failed to pay employees for all the hours worked, forced them to work through breaks, and did not properly pay them for overtime.

Wal-Mart executive Tom Mars said Tuesday the settlement is in the best interest of the company, its shareholders and its workers.  Mars noted the lawsuits were filed years ago and said the allegations do not represent the company Wednesday.

As part of the settlement, the retailer has agreed to continue using electronic systems and other measures to ensure compliance with hourly wage policies and laws.

Wal-Mart says its potential payout for the settlement ranges from $352 million to $640 million, depending on how many claims are submitted by eligible workers.

Wal-Mart has about 1.4 million employees nationwide.