03/22/2013 06:32 EDT | Updated 05/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Newfoundland says about half public sector workers eligible apply for retirement

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government says more than half of the 400 public sector workers eligible have applied for early retirement packages.

Earlier this month the province said it would give an additional 12 weeks pay to those with more than 25 years of service.

Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy says the incentive is another way to reduce layoffs.

Kennedy says 250 people applied for the package with 106 approved and another 97 under review.

He says about 50 applications were denied for various reasons.

About 167 positions have been eliminated to date, although more cuts are expected in Tuesday's budget.