DoD has put in place a policy change extending the standard probationary period there for most employees from one year to two, effective with those hired on or after November 26 of last year, the enactment date of a budget law that ordered the change. During a probationary period–actually the last step in the hiring process even though the employee is already on board–employees have far fewer rights to challenge personnel actions against them up to and including firing; a large portion of the removals of federal employees happen during that period. The change reflects a concern—voiced most commonly by political conservatives but also by some non-partisan entities such as the MSPB–that the probation period is not being used effectively to weed out employees who cannot or will not perform up to expectations. In some cases, that’s because the learning curve required in a job means that more than a year is needed to judge a new employee’s performance. Federal employee unions, however, generally argue that inattention by management is the cause of any shortcomings in the way the period is used. The change at DoD is widely seen as setting a precedent for other agencies, given the department’s size and its history of serving as a testing ground for government-wide personnel policy changes. While the standard probationary period government-wide is one year, there are limited exceptions allowing for longer periods; also those hired into the excepted service technically don’t serve a probationary period but typically they can be removed during the first two years without advance notice and with no right of appeal.