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Microsoft u-turn over redundancy pay blunder

Sacked employees allowed to keep extra cash

Microsoft hopes to avoid a PR disaster by allowing 25 recently laid-off workers to keep overpaid redundancy 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 at the weekend 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, apologising 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 $4,000 or $5,000 (£2,750 to £3,450), 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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