LIVERMORE -- About 400 Lawrence Livermore Lab workers have taken advantage of a voluntary separation program, choosing to resign and accept buyouts, a lab spokeswoman said Monday.

A total of 383 employees had their last day on the job on Thursday. The buyouts are part of a program meant to trim jobs and prepare the lab for budget cutbacks.

Director Parney Albright announced the program in May, asking up to 600 employees to voluntarily resign and receive severance packages of one week of salary per year of service, for up to 26 weeks.

Lab spokeswoman Lynda Seaver said a total of 399 employees took advantage of the offer -- 383 had their last day at work on Thursday. Seaver said lab officials are trying to avoid involuntary layoffs, but won't have a clear picture of whether or not they'll be necessary until Congress hammers out the FY 2014 budget.

"This helps, but right now we need to wait and see what the budget numbers are," she said.

Under terms of the separation program, approved by the National Nuclear Security Administration, employees were given the option of collecting their payouts in a lump sum or through bi-weekly payments. They had a week to rescind their applications if they changed their minds.

A total of 440 employees applied, Seaver said, and 41 rescinded. Of the 399 employees approved to participate, 16 are taking a deferred separation because of their involvement with current projects. The employees are a cross-section of the lab's workforce, including operational support, scientists and technicians, Seaver said.

"We didn't eliminate any job categories," she said.


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Figures on monetary savings from the program were not immediately available.

President Barack Obama's budget request for FY 2014 allocates $1.48 billion to the lab, a 10 percent cut from 2013 with sequestration factored in, according to Seaver. The next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.