Microsoft Asks Laid-off Workers to Return Overpaid Severance

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Microsoft is asking some of the workers it laid off in late January to pay back money they were given in excess of their severance packages. The Redmond-based company is blaming an accounting error and expects repayments within two weeks.

After making 1400 staff redundant, Microsoft reportedly overpaid some of those former employees and underpaid others at the same time. Those who were overpaid were reportedly sent letters requesting for a refund.

Microsoft expects its overpaid former workers will send a check or a money order with the requested amount. "We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you," reads a letter obtained by technology blog TechCrunch, from Microsoft to one of its laid-off employees.

The letter from Microsoft to its redundant employees, asking for part of the severance money back. The letter was obtained by TechCrunch and a Microsoft spokesperson certified its authenticity.

The letter surfaced on the Internet this weekend and Microsoft claims that an "inadvertent administrative error" caused this situation. Microsoft did not confirm how many people were affected by the overpayments but "there was certainly more than one," a company spokesperson said.

However, on the other side of the spectrum, some laid-off workers were been underpaid in their severance and Microsoft claims that it is "taking care of underpayments." Microsoft declined any further comment, saying this is a "private matter between the company and the affected people."

Microsoft paid the laid-off staffers a minimum of 60 days salary and additional compensation based on the length of their service. In January Microsoft announced that another 3600 jobs will be cut over the next 18 months. This totals 5000 jobs, or 5 percent of Microsoft's total workforce.

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