Microsoft lets laid-off workers keep extra cash

Microsoft has reversed course and will not ask recently laid-off workers to repay money they were overpaid.

Microsoft has decided to let 25 recently laid-off workers keep overpaid severance payments, after first asking them to return the money.

As is the normal course of business when Microsoft accidentally overpays people, Microsoft initially asked the workers to return the additional cash, said Lisa Brummel, senior vice president for human resources at Microsoft. "I got wind of this a couple of days ago and said 'I'm not sure this makes sense,'" she said. "I consider this a unique time and circumstance, and I believe this is not a case where we should ask employees to repay an overpayment."

Reports surfaced late on Saturday detailing the letter that the affected former employees received asking them to return the overage.

Brummel said she'd already talked to 17 of the 25 people, apologizing for the inconvenience and letting them know they don't need to repay the overpaid money. "They were quite happy about that," she said.

On average, the people were overpaid US$4,000 or $5,000, although some people received a couple of hundred dollars and a few people were overpaid more than $5,000, she said.

In addition, 20 people who recently lost their jobs received less than they should have. Those people have been identified and have since received a letter and a check with the difference, Brummel said.

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